Brent Set to Post First Loss in Four Months
Brent was poised to post its first monthly loss in four months as it traded at $111.75 on Thursday morning. The commodity slowly climbed toward $112 after a successful Italian bond auction overshadowed political uncertainty in the country.
Although deadlocked Italian elections caused most to worry that an unstable government would bring down Italy's attempt to restructure its debt, Wednesday's auction of 5 and 10 year bonds was well received by the markets and calmed fears.
But many are expecting the positivity to be fleeting as another round of elections became more and more likely after government officials struggled to form any type of coalition agreement.
Investors remained cautious about the US even after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reassured investors that the Fed was on track with their bond buying plan. According to CNBC, he told a congressional panel on Wednesday that unemployment in the US isn't expected to fall below 6 percent for three years, suggesting the central bank will continue its stimulus plan.
Bernanke's reassurance was overshadowed by worries about the looming March 1st deadline for US budget negotiations. If the White House and the Republicans cannot come to an agreement, nearly $85 billion will be cut from the budget, something President Obama claims will decrease economic growth by 0.6 percent.
Tension in Iran over Tehran's nuclear program has long supported Brent prices, but it seems the West and Iranian officials could be moving forward in negotiations. Although last week's talks were fruitless, they were regarded by Iran positively and resulted in the confirmation of another meeting in March.
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