|19 May, 2019

Sunday outlook: Oil drops on Friday, ends the week higher on supply fears

Brent crude fell 41 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $72.21 a barrel, the benchmark gained mostly 2 percent for the week

Recent gains in oil prices have begun to reverse ahead of a key OPEC meeting planned for Friday, June 22, 2018. Image used for illustrative purposes.

Recent gains in oil prices have begun to reverse ahead of a key OPEC meeting planned for Friday, June 22, 2018. Image used for illustrative purposes.

Getty Images/David McNew
  • Oil prices follow stocks lower on Friday
  • Trade tensions weigh on global markets
  • Tadawul’s index rose 1.7 percent on Thursday
  • Dollar rises, gold drops

Oil prices

Oil prices dropped on Friday as equity markets retreated amid trade tensions between the United States and China. Tensions in the Middle East triggered fears over supply disruptions and kept prices higher for the week.

Brent crude fell 41 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $72.21 a barrel. The global benchmark notched a weekly gain of about 2%, having ended last week largely steady and fallen the week before.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 11 cents to end the session at $62.76, and gained about 1.7% on the week.

“Despite what we view as a balanced oil market both domestically and globally, oil pricing is apparently still sensitive to evolving developments in the Persian Gulf where occasional minor military events are slowly cranking up geopolitical risk premium,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, told Reuters.

Global markets

Trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies weighed on stock markets on Friday.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe dropped 0.59%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.36%.

“Markets are priced so close to perfection that it really doesn’t take very much of a wobble to any of the bull narratives to catalyze moves in the market, and I think that’s what we’re seeing with the trade headlines,” Pete Cecchini, chief market strategist with Cantor Fitzgerald, told Reuters.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98.68 points, or 0.38%, to 25,764, the S&P 500 lost 16.79 points, or 0.58%, to 2,859.53 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 81.76 points, or 1.04%, to 7,816.29.

A Reuters report said that U.S. consumer sentiment jumped to a 15-year high in early May amid growing confidence over the economy’s outlook, but much of the surge was recorded before an escalation in the U.S.-China trade war, which could hurt activity.

Middle East markets

Saudi Arabia’s index rose 1.7 percent on Thursday with Al Rajhi Bank adding 2.5%, and Saudi Basic Industries was up 1.3%. Saudi Telecom jumped 5.1% after HSBC raised its target price.

In Dubai, the index dipped 0.3%, weighed down by its real estate stocks. Arabtec Holding plunged 7%. On Wednesday, the firm reported a 50% drop in its first-quarter profit. Union Properties shed 2.8% after reporting a plunge in its first-quarter profit.

The Abu Dhabi index slid for the fourth straight session, down 1.2%, with Emirates Telecommunications Group shedding 1.7%. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, shed 2.1%.

Qatar's index edged up 0.1% with Mesaieed Petrochemical gaining 2.9%.

Kuwait’s premier market index rose 1.6 percent, Bahrain’s index dropped 0.6 percent and Oman’s index rose 0.8 percent.


The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.17% on Friday.

Precious metals

Gold prices dropped on a stronger dollar.

Spot gold fell 0.8% to $1,276.25 per ounce as of 1:46 p.m. EDT (1746 GMT).

U.S. gold futures settled down 0.82% at $1,275.70 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)


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