Oil and stocks jump in setback for dollar, bonds

Tue Feb 3, 2015 6:58pm EST
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By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Oil prices were holding hefty gains in Asia on Wednesday having rallied 19 percent in just four sessions, while the U.S. dollar nursed big losses as a revival in risk appetite swept through crowded trading positions.

A jump in global commodity prices also helped ease deflationary fears, boosting equities and shoving sovereign bond yields up from generational lows.

The improved mood owed much to progress in the stand-off over Greece as the country's new government dropped calls for a debt write-off and instead offered a plan for a swap. [TOP/CEN]

Market positioning exaggerated the moves as investors have been very short on oil and very long on dollars and bonds.

Benchmark Brent crude oil LCOc1 finished Tuesday with a gain of $2.25 to $57.00 a barrel, having been as high as $59 at one stage. U.S. crude CLc1 was quoted at $51.91 in erratic trade, after rising 7 percent on Tuesday.

Traders said oil bulls were encouraged by BP's plan to cut capital expenditures 13 percent in 2015, which came after reductions announced by other major energy companies.

The bounce in oil forced a wave of short covering in commodity currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars, mainly to the cost of their U.S. counterpart.

The U.S. dollar index dropped 0.9 percent on Tuesday for its biggest one-day fall since Oct 2013, before steadying at 93.708 .DXY in early Asian trading.   Continued...

A man is reflected on an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average, outside a brokerage in Tokyo January 16, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai