The US economy added 321,000 non-farm jobs in November and 2014 is on course to be the best year for hiring since the 1990s. The oilmen of North Dakota and Texas have been hard at work fracking. In a surprise move, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the guardian and keeper of oil prices has walked away, leaving the “goal” unmanned and oil bears are scoring goal after goal. I see Brent oil prices bottoming out near $60 per barrel. Last week we learned that the European Central Bank (ECB) now “intends” and no longer “expects” to expand the balance sheet to its 2012 level. We also learned that the ECB could launch a new stimulus package without Council “unanimity.” While falling oil prices are a bane for oil producers and sellers, they are a boon for oil consumers and oil importers – principally in Japan and the Emerging Markets (EM). US dollar strength remains a massive obstacle to crude stabilizing, therefore low crude oil prices will continue to be a tailwind for world growth. I see a volatile Q1 2015 for the market, with Greece being the spanner in the ECB works, and a strong US dollar causing EM disquiet. However, low energy prices combined with continued improvement in the world’s biggest economy (the US), will see the year end on a very positive tone. 2015 will be another year of growth and higher equity prices.
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