Oil prices fall amid rising dollar, concerns over United States growth
14 January, 2019, 05:23 | Author: Eric Barnett
After starting 2019 on a cautious tone, hedge funds this week slashed bets on falling Brent crude prices to the lowest level since mid-November, as they looked to get out the way of a recovery that pushed oil back into a bull market.
Oil prices fell by 1 per cent on Thursday on swelling USA supply, although the mood in global markets was increasingly confident amid hopes the United States and China may soon end trade disputes that have undermined global economic growth.
Brent and WTI are set for their second week of gains, rising almost 8 percent and 10 percent respectively.
Markets were supported earlier this week by hopes that an all-out trade war between Washington and Beijing might be averted.
Heightened risk appetite boosted US Treasury yields to the highest this year, while the US dollar extended losses after minutes from a December 18-19 Federal Reserve policy meeting showed many Fed policymakers said the central bank could be patient on future rate hikes.
"China trade talks, ongoing political uncertainty in the USA, and fears that China's weakening economy could adversely hit global oil demand have also contributed toward the weakness in oil prices." he later added.
Brent has gained more than 20 percent since hitting an 18-month low in late December.
"If you want to gauge how investors are viewing the trade talks, just watch tech, and semiconductors in particular", said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors in Chicago.
Australian shares .AXJO were down 0.2 percent, while Japan's Nikkei .N225 eased 1.2 percent.
China plans to set a lower economic growth target of 6-6.5 percent in 2019 compared with last year's target of "around" 6.5 percent, policy sources toldReuters, as Beijing gears up to cope with higher usa tariffs and weakening domestic demand.
Crude oil's rally is starting to sweep away the pessimists.
Brent crude traded at $60.77 per barrel at 0745 GMT on Thursday with a 1.1 percent decline, after it ended Wednesday at $61.44 a barrel. However, hopes remain that the two nations will continue to strive for a trade agreement before a March 1 deadline.
US Treasury yields climbed to the highest this year, helped by improved risk appetite, but retreated following dovish commentary from Fed speakers and a strong 10-year note auction.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 5.97 points, or 0.02 percent, to 23,995.95, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.38 point, or 0.01 percent, to 2,596.26 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 14.59 points, or 0.21 percent, to 6,971.48.
London-traded, the global oil benchmark, was down 0.2% at $61.53 after rising to $61.91 earlier, also the highest so far for this year.
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