Oil prices jumped about 3.0% yesterday on a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories, as the official count, released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), showed inventories fall by 5.88 million barrels to 484.78 million this week, against forecasts of a 1.4 million rise. Brent crude futures extended their gains today, advancing 30 cents, or 0.79% to $37.65 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures traded at a premium over Brent, buoyed by an end to a 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports; the futures gained 24 cents, or 0.64% to $37.74 a barrel. The outlook remains gloomy for oil however, as OPEC lowered its forecasts to future demand on its oil, and the markets remain awash by excessive supply.
Other commodities fared good as well, with gold futures adding $3.7, or 0.35% to $1,074.24 an ounce. Silver rose 2 cents, or 0.14% to $14.33 an ounce. Copper futures were flat at $2.126 a pound, not far from a month-high scaled overnight at $2.133.
Dollar gave up ground following mixed data on Wednesday, which showed Core Durable Goods Orders fall by 0.1% m/m in November, while Personal Income rose 0.3% m/m. Dollar's index, which measures its performance against a basket of its rivals, edged 0.20% lower to 98.19. Dollar slipped 0.22% against the euro to 1.0937. It lost 0.21% against sterling to 1.4886, moving farther away from an eight-month high reached on Tuesday at 1.4807. Dollar gave up 0.32% against the yen to 120.56.
Asian shares were largely mixed, with China's CSI300 index for the biggest companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen diving 1.65%. Japan's Nikkei, which closed yesterday for the Emperor's Birthday, fell 0.40%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 1.30%, while Korea's KOSPI was flat at 1,999.
Wall Street closed higher for the third consecutive session, settling at a week-high, with Dow Jones jumping 185 points, or 1.06% to 17,602. NASDAQ added 44 points, or 0.90% to 5,045. S&P 500 gained 25 points, or 1.24% to 2,064, making it the biggest riser.
Investors will have their eyes on the U.S. unemployment claims, forecast at 270K for last week, a shade lower than the previous week's 271K. The lower the claims are the better for the currency.