Crude oil prices suffered their worst trading loss in a month, tumbling by more than 2% at Friday’s trading session.
Oil prices were under pressure on fears that recent COVID-19 lockdown measures sighted in the world’s largest buyer of crude oil, China, could in the coming days exhibit weakness in energy demand.
What you should know: A strong U.S dollar, the currency on which crude oil is primarily sold, made purchasing of the commodity less competitive for holders in other currencies like the Euro, Japanese yen, thereby weighing on oil prices
- U.S based oil contract, West Texas Intermediate futures, plunged by 2.2.% to settle at $52.36 per barrel. It is the oil contract’s biggest one-day drop since December 18, although it rounded out the week with a 0.5% upsides.
- The British-based oil contract, which is the global benchmark for crude, settled down $1.32, after losing 2.3% at $55.10. For the week, Brent crude prices lost about 1.6% in value.
- The world’s second-largest economy ramped up lockdowns yesterday, after reporting the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases in more than 10 months.
China capped a week that has resulted in more than 28 million people under lockdown as it suffered its first COVID-19 death on the mainland since May.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, in a note to Nairametrics, spoke on the prevailing macro conditions keeping oil prices relatively high, taking into account Saudi’s recent pledge to curb production, and the influx of COVID-19 vaccines to tame the ravaging virus:
“With Saudi Arabia providing the cornerstone and bridging the gap to vaccine oil market lift-off. With the renewed enthusiasm about the US demand recovery due to the prospects for more stimulus and the new administration’s pledge to focus on the vaccinations’ rollout, oil prices are lifting higher locking to hash out higher ranges.”
What to expect: Oil traders are entering a critical phase as oil remains sensitive to the news, with negative implications for the demand recovery.
The oil market recovery is vital for blunting the effect of higher nominal US Treasury yields through the reflationary channel. If oil doesn’t fly higher, the reflation trade could fall flat on its face.
Oil prices drop as gasoline demand from U.S refineries remain poor
Oil prices suffered significant losses at the mid-week trading session in London.
Oil prices suffered significant losses at the mid-week trading session in London. Oil traders are virtually going short on macros revealing an unexpected build in U.S. crude inventories.
The surge in U.S oil inventories was attributable to the unprecedented cold snap that hit a key energy hub in the world’s largest economy during the previous week thereby pausing gasoline demand from refineries that were forced to close down.
At the time of writing this report, Brent crude was down 0.60% hovering around the $64 per barrel.
However, both major oil benchmarks remained above the $60 price levels.
The most recent data from the American Petroleum Institute revealed a surge of 1.026 million barrels for the week ending Febuary.19. Oil experts had earlier anticipated a 5.372-million-barrel drop.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi in a note to Nairametrics spoke on prevailing market conditions weighing on the black hydrocarbon
“With excessively stretched positioning and highly susceptible to any negative news, WTI dropped towards the $61 level after the API stockpiles jumped +1.026 million barrels versus the previous draw of 5.8 million barrels during the period ended on February 19.
“Although the commodity prices dropped following the bearish stockpile data, bulls probably won’t be charging back to the pen en masses as the smoldering embers around the Middle East powder keg threaten to ignite once again as the US-Iran conflict continues to simmer but at a higher heat level today.”
What to expect: Still, Oil pundits expect more visibility on oil traders move at the end of next week with the next round of monthly OPEC+ meetings. Outside of a rise in geopolitical risk, upside momentum could be limited in the coming days as oil traders wrestle with OPEC+ next move.
Gold maintains shine after advancing for two days
The bullion asset regained its lustre after a 2.2% drop recorded in the past week,
Gold stayed on course at the second trading session of the week after advancing for two days, as metal traders awaited testimony from U.S Fed Chief, Jerome Powell.
At the time of drafting this report, the bullion asset traded at $1,807.24 an ounce after rising 1.9% over two days.
The U.S Fed Chief’s semi-annual report at the U.S congress today and the next day will be monitored by metal traders for further policy guidance, and his assessment of the economic recovery at the world’s largest economy.
The bullion asset regained its lustre after a 2.2% drop recorded in the past week, as traders refocus on rising inflation expectations.
In an explanatory note to Nairametrics, Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, gave valuable insights on how the precious metal managed to stay above the $ 1,800-ounce price level.
“It was a strange world seeing the commodity locomotive racing at full steam, but gold left-back at the station. But correlations are looking more normal today after yesterday morning signal gold was trading slightly higher in delayed response to USD weakness. A weaker US dollar remains one of the primary lift-off balloons.
Gold built on Friday’s modest rally, clearing and holding above the USD1,800/oz level. USD weakness was likely the key factor behind gold’s recovery.”
What to expect: The U.S congress may vote on the US$1.9 trillion stimulus package in the coming days, which should hold gold’s appeal as inflation concerns and reflation appeal suggest gold is a good hedge.
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