Brent crude futures fell during Asian trading after reports from Iranian TV that a Saudi oil pipeline had exploded were denied by Saudi authorities. Brent futures surged to around $128 per barrel briefly before gradually falling as the rumour was denied. The rumour based on a fire in an industrial estate in a town near Saudi Arabia’s Ras Tanura refinery. In a Bloomberg poll 56% of analysts forecast oil will increase through to 9th March, 32%, predicted prices will fall and 12% estimated there will be little change. Last week, 43 percent of surveyed analysts expected an increase.
Cotton futures prices were broadly unchanged overnight. In a bearish note, the weekly USDA export sales report showed exports down 57% from the previous week. Meanwhile markets were encouraged by news from China that the National Development and Reform Commission will buy 2012/13 cotton for its state reserves at the equivalent price of $1.45 per lb, 3% higher than this season and far more than US growers can expect to receive.