Monday, January 31, 2011

"The battle of Cairo is over, or is it?" and Oil Markets 'Choppy'

The oil markets seem to think so, Brent is down 42 cents, WTI up 42 cents.
From The Economist:
I KNEW it was truly over when I came home to find a neighbour in a panic. He had smelled a fire nearby. We traced its source soon enough, after climbing to the roof of my building. Smoke drifted from the garden of the villa next door, where workers had recently been digging a peculiarly deep hole, as if for a swimming pool. In a far corner of the garden stood rows of cardboard boxes spilling over with freshly shredded paper, and next to them a smouldering fire.

More intriguingly, a group of ordinary looking young men sat on the lawn, next to the hole. More boxes surrounded them, and from these the men extracted, one by one, what looked like cassette tapes and compact discs. After carefully smashing each of these with hammers, they tossed them into the pit. Down at its bottom another man shovelled wet cement onto the broken bits of plastic. More boxes kept appearing, and their labours continued all afternoon....MORE
From the Wall Street Journal:
Oil Futures Choppy as Market Eyes Egypt 
Crude-oil futures swung between positive and negative territory, as the market eyed the unrest in Egypt and its potential effect on the operation of the Suez Canal, a key transport link for oil headed to the Mediterranean.
Earlier Monday, the potential for escalating anti-government protests in Egypt to interrupt shipping traffic or spread to major oil-producing nations in the Middle East helped push Brent to within a whisper of $100 a barrel. However, with no clear indication of how events would unfold, both contracts have since eased off these highs....MORE

"Price developments today are wide open depending on the further developments in Egypt," wrote analysts with SEB.

The front-month March Brent contract on London's ICE futures exchange was 62 cents, or 0.6%, lower at $98.80 a barrel. The front-month March contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading seven cents higher at $89.41 a barrel.

Both contracts shot higher on Friday, with Nymex futures rising by more than 4%.