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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Night Futures:Isaac, ECB and Fed

by Calculated Risk on 8/26/2012 09:07:00 PM

Tropical Storm Isaac in the Gulf (soon to be a hurricane). Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and ECB President Mario Draghi speak later this week at the Jackson Hole Symposium. It will be a busy week!

From Reuters: Isaac heads for U.S. Gulf Coast, Landfall likely on anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Isaac is expected to strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane and hit the Gulf Coast ... on or near the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina - the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an advisory.

With the threat to offshore oil infrastructure and Louisiana refineries, U.S. crude oil prices traded up 75 cents to $96.90 a barrel in Asia trading early Monday.

Once ashore, the storm could wreak havoc on low-lying fuel refineries along the Gulf Coast that account for about 40 percent of U.S. refining capacity.
It was the storm surge during Katrina that damaged the Gulf Coast refineries - and the NHC doesn't expect Isaac to be as large or powerful as Katrina, but Isaac is still a very dangerous storm.

From the WSJ: ECB Weighs Flexible Targets on Bond Yields
[O]fficials are moving in the direction of informal, flexible yield objectives for shorter-maturity bond yields of Spain and other at-risk countries, according to the person familiar with the matter.

The central bank is unlikely to finalize anything before its Sept. 6 policy meeting, at the earliest. Yet the basic contours are starting to take shape.

The thinking, the person said, is that the ECB would guide investors toward a target, or range, for government bond yields of Spain and others by publicly communicating specifics about the amount of the bond purchases it conducts, as well as the details on the types of bonds it buys.
No denial yet from Germany.

And from Jon Hilsenrath at the WSJ: Will Fed Act Again? Sizing Up Potential Costs
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers what could be his closing argument in deliberations about launching a new bond-buying program when he speaks Friday at the central bank's Jackson Hole, Wyo., conference.

The argument comes down to weighing costs and benefits.
The Asian markets are mixed tonight, with the Nikkei up 0.8% and the Shanghai Composite down 1%.

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: the S&P future are up 2, and the DOW futures up 25 points.

Oil prices are moving up again with WTI futures are at $96.88 and Brent is at $114.27 per barrel. Using the calculator at Econbrowser suggests national gasoline prices at about $3.69 per gallon.

Summary for Week Ending Aug 24th
Schedule for Week of Aug 26th

Three more questions for the August economic prediction contest (Note: You can now use Facebook, Twitter, or OpenID to log in).