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EN 
On Wednesday for Boxing Day. Brent gained $2.27/bbl to settle at $111.07/bbl, while WTI put on $2.37/bbl to settle at $90.98/bbl.
 
US stocks fell for a straight day on Wednesday after a report showed consumer spent less in the holiday shopping season than last year. The Dow fell 24.49 pts, or 0.19 pct, to 13,114.59 at the close. The S&P 500 shed 6.83 pts, or 0.48 pct, to 1,419.83. The Nasdaq Composite lost 22.44 pts, or 0.74 pct, to 2,990.16. The S&P 500 has fallen 1.5 pct over the past three session, the worst three-day decline since mid November. The euro was last up 0.3 pct at $1.3223.
 
US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the US will take “extraordinary measures” to postpone a U.S default by changing some of the Treasury’s funding practices to create about $200 billion in headroom under the debt limit which would give the department about two months before the country’s borrowing limits were breached. However, Mr Geithner warned in a letter to Congress yesterday that the uncertainty over the tax and spending measures meant it was not possible to predict the effective of these measures. President Obama has cut short his Christmas break and is due to arrive in Washington today although the Republican house has yet to recall its members, meaning any possible deal is likely to go down to the wire.
 
Home prices in the United States climbed more than forecast in October, a closely watched survey showed on Wednesday. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 4.3 percent yoy in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the biggest 12-month advance since May 2010. The median forecast of 30 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 4 percent gain. Separately, manufacturing expanded for a second month in December in the area covered by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
 
The Japanese yen fell to a two-year low against the dollar on Wednesday, in anticipation of inflationary measures by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government and monetary easing by the Bank of Japan. The yen has weakened about 9.8 percent against the dollar since Abe was elected LDP leader in September. On Wednesday, it hit a 20-month low of 85.70 yen. Abe has vowed to create a “crisis-beating government” to tackle the deflation that has dogged Japan for more than a decade and also the strong yen and said he had instructed his cabinet to do their utmost to achieve economic recovery and reconstruction after last year’s devastating earthquake.
 
Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi announced on Wednesday that the constitution, which was drafted by his Islamist allies, had been formally approved the previous evening, shortly after results showed that Egyptians had backed it in a referendum.  In his first address to the nation since the adoption of the constitution, Mursi said it was time for all political forces to put aside their differences and start working together to bring economic stability. He added that he would introduce incentives to make Egypt an attractive place for business once again, and he would consider making changes in the cabinet as part of his plan. The main opposition group said it had not changed its position. Opposition spokesman Hussein Abdel Ghani said the opposition would stick to its policy of peaceful protest against Mursi’s government, which he said sought to use religion as a tool to create an oppressive state.
 
Libya’s deputy oil minister Omar Shakmak said on Wednesday that protestors have forced the closure of a major port in eastern Libya for a fourth day. The Al-Zuweitina oil port, 790km east of Tripoli, receives oil pumped from at least three oil fields and is responsible for exporting 60 to 70 bpd. The protestors had forced their way into the port’s management offices on Saturday to demand the government to provide them with jobs as they believe that they can put pressure on the government by stalling oil-related companies.
 
Severe winter storms had hit parts of the central and southern United States and are moving eastward on Wednesday,  causing flight delays and dangerous road conditions for holiday travelers. Temperatures are also expected to stay below normal for most of the country through next week but some forecasters were looking for a warm-up in the 15-day outlook.

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