|24 December, 2018

Monday outlook: Oil prices drop on rising supplies

Oil prices drop on oversupply concerns. Global markets retreat as trade tensions between the U.S. and China weighed on sentiment. More commentary on Middle East markets, currencies and precious metals.

Image used for illustrative purpose. The BP West Coast Products LLC Carson oil refinery on August 7, 2006 in Carson, California.

Image used for illustrative purpose. The BP West Coast Products LLC Carson oil refinery on August 7, 2006 in Carson, California.

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  • Oil prices drop on oversupply concerns
  • Asian shares drop, following a retreat on Wall Street on Friday
  • Global markets weighed on Middle East markets on Sunday
  • Dollar weakens, gold rises

Oil prices

Oil prices dropped in early trading on Monday as rising oil supplies and a slowing global economy weighed on prices.

International benchmark Brent crude futures fell 27 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $53.55 a barrel at 0106 GMT. Brent touched $52.79 on Friday, its lowest since September 2017.

United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures eased 8 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $45.51 a barrel. WTI hit its lowest since July 2017 on Friday at $45.13.

Oil production has been at or near record highs in major producers the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia.

To ease supply worries, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies including Russia agreed earlier this month to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd).

“Oil ministers are already taking to the airwaves with a ‘price stability at all cost’ mantra,” Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore, told Reuters.

Global markets

Asian shares dropped on Monday, following a retreat on Wall Street on Friday, as trade tensions between the U.S. and China kept investors cautious.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.5 percent to its lowest in seven weeks.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 414.23 points on Friday, or 1.81 percent, to 22,445.37, the S&P 500 lost 50.8 points, or 2.06 percent, to 2,416.62 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 195.41 points, or 2.99 percent, to 6,333.00.

“Many of the financial and economic indicators that turn first around business cycle peaks are now flashing red in advanced economies,” Simon MacAdam, global economist as Capital Economics, told Reuters.

Middle East markets

Most stock markets in the Gulf retreated on Sunday, as global market sentiment was weak after a drop on Wall Street on Friday.

Saudi Arabia’s index edged 0.3 percent lower. The index opened more than 2 percent lower, but regained ground to close marginally lower.

Saudi Basic Industries, which is the largest company on the Saudi equities market, rose 0.2 percent, providing support to the market.

Al Rajhi Bank, which declined as much as 5.7 percent in early trading, recovered, rising as much as 1.2 percent.

Dubai’s index dropped 1.2 percent, as DAMAC Properties was down 4.5 percent, while Emaar Properties fell 3.8 percent, while Union Properties was down five percent.

Abu Dhabi shares declined 0.8 percent on Sunday, weighed by energy stocks, after Brent crude fell 2.3 percent to $53.10 on Thursday.

Qatar's index was down 1.2 percent with blue-chip stocks such as Industries Qatar down over 2 percent.

Egypt’s blue-chip index dropped 1.3 percent as Telecom Egypt lost 3.9 percent and Commercial International Bank lost 3.4 percent.

Kuwait’s index edged 0.2 percent lower, while Bahrain and Oman’s indices were mainly flat.

Currencies

The dollar eased in early trading on Monday after last week’s surge.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was a shade softer at 96.835.

Precious metals

Gold prices rose on a weaker dollar.

Spot gold had risen 0.4 percent to $1,261.47 per ounce by 0103 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.5 percent at $1,264.1 per ounce.

(Compiled by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Shane McGinley)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)

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