Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

Oil Pressured by Disappointing Decline in US Stocks

Mae Harvey | 06 May, 2017, 02:43

HONG KONG (AP) - A strong U.S.jobs report shored up markets on Friday, though energy shares remained under pressure after the price of oil touched its lowest level in almost six months.

The FTSE 100 was set to open slightly down on Friday morning, according to futures trading.

Oil prices stabilized in Asian trading Friday after hitting a five-month low while regional stock benchmarks headed lower in holiday-thinned trading. However, it also makes it more likely that the Federal Reserve will raise its key interest rate again as soon as June.

Even so, Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, said, "We still have a near record overhang and signs of increasing production in areas of the world outside the producers that agreed to the cuts".

Things only fully stabilised when Saudi Arabia's OPEC chief hit the wires in European hours, saying there was a growing consensus among oil pumping countries that they needed to continue to "rebalance" the market. Member nations of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are due to discuss the deal later this month. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.1 percent to close at 2,389.52.

While OPEC is cutting back to alleviate price pressures, US fracking companies could jump to capitalize on the windfall as crude oil prices jump back above $50 per barrel - according to some estimates, shale oil producers can get by with oil at just over $50 per barrel due to advancements in technology and drilling techniques that have helped cut down costs. The contract lost $2.30 on Thursday.

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Crude oil prices were moving in volatile territory in early Friday trading, shifting between modest gains and steep losses before the start of US trading.

"What we've seen in terms of the rebound today is really just a bit of a correction following an oversold market over the past several days", Michael Tran, a commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets in NY, said by telephone.

Brent futures LCOc1 gained 47 cents and traded at $50.93 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 increased by 37 cents to be traded at $48.02 per barrel, reported Reuters. Japan and South Korea remain closed for the spring holiday.

Australia's ASX200 share index was down 0.8%, weighed by the mining and resource sectors, while the Hang Seng was off 1.25%.

"At some point, the market should recognize OPEC isn't the most important player in the market any more", said Commerzbank's Eugen Weinberg, "That is non-OPEC, and, above all, USA shale".

The Japanese yen weakened 0.14 percent at 112.62 per dollar, while Sterling GBP= was last trading at $1.2965, up 0.35 percent on the day. The euro was also flat around $1.0985.

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