Risk on again!

Crude oil & gold react to geopolitical risk

Oil is up(NYMEX:CLN14) again as violence in Ukraine and in Libya, while talks with Iran made no real progress. The risk premium is rising again in oil helping it stay bid against a backdrop of a weaker dollar. The weaker dollar is also helping gold that is perking up on expectations that the new Indian government will lift its import restrictions as well as a new EU pact that will reduce their gold-sales. Natural gas is hanging trying to decide against selling off on weak short term fundamentals vs. the specter of tougher EPA regulations.

Ukraine saw some clashes over the weekend. While Vladimir Putin says he has ordered troops back to their bases, NATO claims that there is no pullback of Russian forces. On top of that the Gazprom deadline for the Ukraine is looming at the end of the month with a promise by Gazprom to cut off gas supply unless payment is made. ABC reported that a senior United Nations official says the crisis in Ukraine is edging towards "the point of no return". UN assistant secretary general for human rights Ivan Simonovic says the crisis has worrying echoes of the 1990s war in his native Croatia. Speaking to the BBC from the eastern city of Donetsk, Mr. Simonovic said the chances of preventing full-scale civil war were diminishing.  "The window of opportunity is certainly slowly closing," he said.  In eastern Ukraine, clashes between government forces and separatist militants have continued. Violence between the two sides has left dozens of people dead in recent weeks, ahead of elections for a new Ukrainian president due on May 25.

Libya sees more violence. It seems every time you think you can count on Libya exports to start moving, you can’t. Fox News Reported that an Al Qaeda-inspired group in Libya said Monday it will fight troops loyal to a renegade general behind an attack on the country's parliament the day before and join forces with Islamic militias who were targeted by the general's secular followers. The announcement by the influential Lions of Monotheism Group further adds to the quagmire in Libya, three years after the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

On Sunday, forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a former rebel in the fight against Gadhafi, stormed the parliament in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, saying they were suspending the house in a struggle against Islamist lawmakers and officials whom they blame for allowing extremists to hold the country ransom. The attack saw militia members backed by truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns; mortars and rocket fire raid the parliament building in the heart of Tripoli, sending lawmakers fleeing for their lives as gunmen ransacked the legislature. The brazen assault -- in which two people reportedly died and more than 50 were wounded -- was a significant challenge to the country's weak central government.


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