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Cheap Oil for Longer

ETFS Multi-Asset Weekly Cheap Oil for Longer

Highlights

Unchanged OPEC daily quota pushes crude lower.

Central Banks drive equities to record levels.

Commodity currencies feel the pain of weak oil prices.

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Following Mario Draghi’s comments indicating that the European Central Bank is ready to step up its efforts to fight deflationary headwinds, all eyes will be on the ECB meeting this week to see if rhetoric will be followed with action in the near future. US Q3 GDP was revised upwards indicating more strength in the economy than most has expected. This week’s US non-farm payroll data could act as another catalyst for cyclical asset price gains if the numbers come in above expectations. While OPEC’s inaction this week will hurt investors who are long oil, cheaper world oil prices could help boost growth in oil importing nations, once again helping other cyclical assets.

Commodities

Unchanged OPEC daily quota pushes crude lower. Last Thursday the highly anticipated OPEC meeting bore no good news for crude prices as the cartel decided to maintain the current daily supply target of 30 million barrels a day. The inaction resulted in the price of Brent falling -8.5% on the week with a vast majority of the decline occurring directly after the meeting’s conclusion was revealed. In our view the impact of Brent remaining below $80/bbl will have two important consequences, the first of which will be to cause global suppliers to curb production as the price level breaches the marginal cost of production dissolving producer profits. The second is to put more pressure on OPEC to reduce exports at the June 2015 meeting as members struggle to balance their government budgets with oil at current levels. This should create a more supportive environment for oil in the longer term.

Equities

Central Banks drive equities to record levels. European shares rallied higher this week following ECB president, Mario Draghi’s address of the European Banking Conference where he stated current policy measures are insufficient to ensure price stability in the Eurozone. This stoked speculation among investors that the ECB will broaden its asset purchase program to engage in full blown quantitative easing, driving the DAX 30 and FTSE MIB 5.18% and 4.64% higher. In Asia, Chinese equity markets applauded moves by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) as it reduced both the benchmark 1-year deposit and lending rate, demonstrating the central bank’s willingness to take action to ensure the economy meets target growth levels. The MSCI China A Index rose 7.9% over the week as the Chinese equity market surpassed Japan’s to become the world’s second largest stock market for the first time since 2011 totalling $4.48tn.

Currencies

Commodity currencies feel the pain of weak oil prices. The sharp drop in oil prices last week weakened the Norwegian Krone by 2.5% against Pound Sterling, 2.4% against the US Dollar and 1.9% against the Euro. A bullish US Dollar against commodity currency basket strategy returned close to 1% last week. We believe the US Dollar will continue to gain strength on the back of diverging global monetary policy. The US Fed will likely embark on a tightening phase in 2015, while the ECB and BOJ will have to continue to loosen. Last week’s surprise upward US GDP revision and bullish expectation for this week’s US payrolls number has aided US Dollar strength. The Swiss National Bank was spared being forced to “tie its hands” with gold and compromise its ability to cap its exchange rate against the euro at 120, after the Swiss population voted against the proposal at the referendum over the weekend.

Important Information

This communication has been issued and approved for the purpose of section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by ETF Securities (UK) Limited (”ETFS UK”) which is authorised and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (”FCA”).

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