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Economic Brief - Oil Market & Budget Developments

Source: National Bank of Kuwait

Crude prices renew upward march after early December pullback... Kuwait’s budget outlook remains strong…

In its latest economic brief on the oil market and budget developments, NBK noted that, after a relatively stable November, crude prices saw considerable volatility through December. The price of Kuwait Export Crude (KEC) dropped $8 per barrel (pb) to $71 pb in the first half of December, before rallying back to $77 by the end of the month and to nearly $80 by 7th January – a new post recovery high. The initial fall may have been driven by a strengthening of the US dollar, which appreciated by 4% in trade-weighted terms between December 1st and 17th. But crude prices began rising again after this burst of support for the dollar abated.

Later in the month, crude prices also drew support from more fundamental factors, notably the continued decline in oil and oil product inventory levels in the US (though admittedly from still high levels), as well as relatively upbeat signals from macro indicators around the world, particularly purchasing manager indices of industrial activity. These data provided backing for the more bullish analysts who expect crude prices to be well supported by supply and demand dynamics through 2010.

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