Quiet night on Friday, WTI/Brent spread opening up, a focus on India, ASX futures 14 points higher

ASX futures are pointing to a slightly positive start in Australia, and it was relieving to see that Telstra (TLS) lost no ground on Friday after announcing its change in CEO. The Australian dollar is well-bid at the moment at US$0.7846 and commodities, while mostly lower as you can see from the bottom section of today's Global Markets matrix, at least saw a firm iron ore price, so--coupled with a quiet patch of data--there should be no big surprises out this morning. This week's reporting season will kick off today with the following names, all interim except for the full-year reports of Caltex, GPT and Spark: 

  • BPT    Beach Energy
  • BSL    BlueScope Steel
  • BXB    Brambles
  • CNU    Chorus
  • CTX    Caltex Australia
  • FRE    Freightways
  • FWD    Fleetwood Corporation
  • GPT    GPT Group
  • GXL    Greencross
  • IGO    Independence Group NL
  • LLC    Lend Lease Group
  • MRM    MMA Offshore
  • MTU    M2 Group
  • NHF    NIB Holdings
  • SKI    Spark Infrastructure Group
  • SKT    Sky Network Television
  • UGL    UGL
In the absence of any big news events, I thought I'd quickly chat about India this morning, following up from a note I sent around last September when the world was desperately searching for a replacement for Chinese growth. 

Today's first chart shows the move, in percentage terms, of the largest India ETF, the iShares MSCI India ETF, as found on the Rivkin Trader platform in Orange (with the S&P 500 in black for reference). You can see that, since this time last year, the INDA ETF is up 39.89% - this fairly accurately replicates the performance of India's Sensex index, which is benefiting from an enormous gift to its economy - a 50% cut in the price of its oil imports. Transport expenses and inflation have been curbed since the fall in the oil prices and India's economy is loving it. There's no doubt that the country remains plagued by political instability as well as some horrific hurdles to doing business (the World Bank ranks India as 142 out of 189 countries in the world to do business, with 189 being the hardest); however, all things being equal to what they have been, the cut in the oil price lifts India's economy from its existing base by alleviating approximately US$50 billion in oil import expenses per year, compared with previous oil prices.

Oil prices remain steady and present and, as mentioned in other updates, prices probably need to remain where they are to have the intended petro-energy industry effect that OPEC may be seeking. In today's second chart I have showed the gap opening up between the price of WTI crude oil (OILUS) and Brent crude oil (OILUK) as last week's US inventory data showed growing surpluses of stored crude onshore in the US.

Today's last chart shows the AUDUSD (although elevated since recent lows) remains well within the boundaries of its medium-term down trend.

Today‚Äôs charts are taken from the Rivkin Trader platform. 30,000 global instruments available to trade including FX, commodities, index, ETFs and international shares. Trade Australian share CFDs from just $8 or 0.10%. Click here or phone 1300 748 546 to get your free $100,000 demo account.

Upcoming economic announcements: Bank of Japan minutes out at 10:50am, German business sentiment surveys out at 8pm, all Sydney time.

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