Crude oil prices fall as United States dollar firms
21 February, 2018, 09:16 | Author: Luis Fowler
April contract West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures added 0.4 percent to $61.81 per barrel, driven by Friday's gains, as trading in the United States temporarily halted on Monday for President's Day.
Futures fell 1.1% in London.
Suhail al-Mazroui, energy minister for the United Arab Emirates, told media of the alliance formation, saying OPEC was urging its members to build oil capacity buffers to temper any wild upswings in price due to the weak USA dollar this year.
Oil price yesterday extended gains to hit highest level in almost two weeks as Asian shares joined a global recovery in equity markets.
"Oil got mild support from gains in Asian equity markets, but has been getting pressure from the rise in USA rig count and a slight recovery in the dollar", he said. The American crude is strengthening versus the Middle East marker as a combination of new pipeline options, a rail auto crunch, demand from Gulf Coast refineries and a thirst for U.S. supply from overseas means less is being hoarded.
Pointing a finger at a familiar and convenient scapegoat, he said, "OPEC needs to just focus on itself and focus on what it needs to do and forget what is happening in [U.S.] shale. Rising shale oil production will prove a headwind for the oil price for a while yet".
The US Labour Department said its Consumer Price Index increased 0.5pc in January as households paid more for gasoline, rental accommodation and healthcare, raising pressure on new Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell to prevent a possible overheating of the economy. But expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates to fight inflation make gold less attractive since it is not interest-yielding. Saudi hinted last week that it was willing to see an undersupplied market. Volumes were massive with 39.4m ounces of April delivery gold traded. As a result, consensus forecasts now stand at $62 per barrel, it said, which is 13 percent higher than the $54.80 average price for Brent crude achieved in 2017, but which is lower than the current price.
WTI has gained more than 8 per cent since the end of November, when the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies agreed to extend an output-curb deal until the end of this year.
Gold has gained $112 an ounce since mid-December and despite culling positions in recent weeks large-scale speculators on derivatives markets like hedge funds have almost doubled net long positions - bets that gold will be more expensive in future - since then.
Non-OPEC stocks outside North America are also believed to decline this year and the next. European funds, added 7.6 tonnes, while Asian funds had net redemptions equal to 1.4 tonnes during the month. Palladium was 0.7pc higher at $1,007.75, after earlier hitting a one-week top of $1,009.30.
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