The price of Crude Oil is soft this morning following reports that France has been in contact with the US and UK asking for a release of emergency oil reserves to help ease prices. Crude Oil has fallen 1.7% following the report.
The Pound Sterling has fallen nearly one-cent against the Loonie following their worse than expected final Q4 GDP figures. The UK economy shrank 0.3% in the fourth-quarter as output in the services sector declined. Economists were looking for Q4 GDP to come to print at -0.2%.
Credit rating agency Fitch has reported this morning that they expect the Portuguese economy to shrink by 3.7% in 2012, far worse than their previous estimate of 3.0%. Meanwhile, Italian PM Monti was tooting his own horn today after Italy sold bonds on the open market at the lowest rate since September 2010. Monti announced the Euro area’s woes are “almost over”; however, the reform can all be swiftly reversed should the government lose its majority or austerity is watered down in parliament.
US durable goods orders gained less than expected in February. Orders rose 2.2%, less than the consensus of 3.0% but well above the previous release of -3.6%. Troubling; however, is the fact that inventories in the US have hit an all time high, having risen 26 consecutive months. The build up in inventories should no doubt cannibalize future growth as US companies sit on stockpiles of inventory.
North American equities are unchanged overnight after selling off 0.3% yesterday. European and Asian markets have fallen 0.3% and 0.75% since the opening bell. Crude Oil has softened and as a result the Canadian dollar has slipped 30 basis points against the greenback.