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Oil prices, European currencies fall

19 May 2010

Oil prices have dropped below $70 per barrel for light sweet crude as the Euro and British Pound are both getting crushed amidst the mounting pressure from the debt crisis that has hit many major European economies.

As Greece, Spain and Portugal headline the growing list of countries in Europe that are seeking assistance, facing credit rating reductions, or generally struggling financially, the Euro has been weakened significantly.

Despite some modest bounces anytime any bit of positive news comes about, the Euro has broken below major support in the $1.24-1.25 range. After touching down near $1.21 earlier in the week, the Euro currently fetches $1.2375. A failure to regain footing at this point could spell major trouble.

The Pound is currently worth $1.4412 as Britain has so far avoided the deep despair of member European Union countries.

Germany has responded quickly as a leader in the relief effort. Not only has it stepped up to offer assistance to Greece but country officials have also been discussing bans on Euro shorting.

Despite efforts by countries or the International Monetary Fund to intervene in currency situations, history generally proves that the marketplace takes currencies in the direction they should naturally go. Even with light bounces, the Euro appears headed for the very real possibility of a sub-$1 value in the not too distant future, barring some unforeseen developments in the US or abroad.

With the European economies and currencies slumping, the dollar improving, oil prices continue to fall. A lack of a major shift in supply and demand has contributed as well, but it is the intense European struggles that have driven crude to its current price of $68.22 for June benchmark crude delivery. Oil prices fell below $68 briefly on New York Mercantile trading Wednesday.

Interesting July crude oil futures remain over $71, suggesting that speculative investors might below oil has better value in the long-run than it does in the very near-term. This is undoubtedly driven by the intense emotional waves caused by the daily financial saga going on in Europe.

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