The big plunge in crude oil prices has continued overnight and into this morning. WTI is down 2.2% breaking under $50.00 while Brent is down 1.8% falling toward $52.00 after breaking $55.00.

Through the winter, traders had held up oil hoping that OPEC production cuts would offset the return of US shale production as prices increased. Big buildups in US inventories over the winter were seen as temporary. A week ago it looked like the big build phase was over but this week it roared back to life causing trader to throw in the towel. Between reports suggesting that US oil production could break their 1970s record next year and talk that Russia has been slow to keep its promises, the oversupply issues that sparked the market share war of recent years could be heading back to square one.

Plunging oil prices have pulled the prices of energy stocks and resource currencies down the drain as well. Oil sensitive currencies like CAD and NOK have been hit particularly hard but other resource dollars like AUD and NZD have been impacted as well. 

This morning finds US index futures trading down 0.1% with the oil light and technology heavy NASDAQ down less than the Dow and S&P. In Europe the FTSE with its higher energy weighting is down 0.75% while the Dax is down 0.25%.

In currency action, USD remains well supported between yesterday's very strong ADP payrolls report and tomorrow' s nonfarm payrolls. GBP has stabilized while gold remains under pressure with trader fully expecting a rate hike next week and increasing speculation another increase could come in June.

The ECB announcement is out with no changes. A one and done taper to QE is expected for April with interest rate and QE levels expected to hold through the rest of the year after that. The ECB seems to want to stay the course until the elections due in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy over the next year are done. It will be interesting to see if rising inflation or external events force them to change their plans in the coming months. EUR pairs could be active around the decision and the Draghi press conference. 


Corporate News

There have been no major corporate announcements so far this morning. 


Economic News

ECB decision            no change to interest rates or QE as expected

China consumer prices        0.8% vs street 1.7%
China producer prices        7.8% vs street 7.7%

Greece unemployment rate    23.1% vs previous 23.0%


Upcoming significant economic announcements include:

1:30 pm GMT        ECB Draghi press conference

8:30 am EST        Canada new house prices    previous 3.0%

8:30 am EST        US jobless claims        street 238K

10:30 am EST        US natural gas            street (63 BCF) vs previous 7 BCF


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