Oil higher as OPEC+ work towards an agreement
Oil prices are climbing again on Tuesday, having sharply reversed course on Monday as WTI came within a whisker of USD50 a barrel, a level it hasn’t breached since early in the pandemic. It’s a sign of how far things have come that rather than seeing prices plunging as numerous countries go back into lockdown, they’re stable at very reasonable levels.
Of course, the vaccines have a lot to do with that, with traders banking on a strong recovery on the back of enormous amounts of fiscal support over the last year, which will continue for a few more months yet. Pent up demand is expected to turbocharge the economic recovery, which should bode well for fuel demand and allow OPEC+ to continue to ease production cuts.
As ever though, timing is crucial and the group remains at odds about what to do in February. Plans to hike production by 500,000 barrels in February have been put in doubt by new lockdowns but Russia is reportedly keen to push ahead and preserve market share. Saudi Arabia and others are more cautious, instead keen on maintaining higher prices. The only outcome that could seriously threaten prices is a total collapse, but that’s extremely unlikely, with another compromise likely to keep all sides happy for now.
Gold eyes set on USD2,000
After looking like a wounded animal for much of the final months of the year, gold has started 2021 in fine fashion, bursting through USD1,900 on Monday and pushing USD1,950 once again today. A softer dollar continues to be supportive for the yellow metal, making the outcome of the Georgia run-off all the more interesting.
The best outcome for gold may be Republicans keeping hold of one seat, reducing the prospects of more fiscal stimulus and leaving the Fed to do the heavy lifting. Either way, a run towards USD2,000 looks on the cards, regardless of any short-term setbacks.
The main thing standing in the way now is the early November highs which happens to roughly coincide with the 61.8% retracement of the move from the summer highs to late November lows. A move above here could clear the way for a move towards that major psychological level.
Bitcoin has JPM onside
The only thing bitcoin enthusiasts will love more than a forecast calling for a quadrupling of the bitcoin price in the coming years is having it come from JP Morgan. CEO Jamie Dimon once rubbed the community up the wrong way by calling bitcoin a fraud, among other things, but it seems his employees aren’t on the same page.
Dimon’s beliefs may turn out to be well-founded, with bitcoin being nothing more than a speculative instrument at the moment. The price action over the last year and the volatility it invites is evidence of that. But as we’ve seen for months, that doesn’t mean it can’t make extraordinary moves in the interim and those moves recently have primarily been to the upside.
It’s had a bit of a setback at the start of 2021 but in the grand scheme of things, that’s nothing. It broke above USD20,000 for the first time ever less than a month ago and, predictably, it’s been a wild ride since. That ride isn’t over and it could climb much further yet. Of course, it will end horribly for some when it collapses in flames but that’s the risk you take with something as highly speculative as bitcoin.
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