|02 June, 2019

Sunday outlook: Oil plunges on U.S.-Mexico trade fears

Brent crude futures fell $2.38, or 3.6%, to settle at $64.49 a barrel

Image used for illustrative purpose. Distillation tank of oil refinery plant, twilight time.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Distillation tank of oil refinery plant, twilight time.

  • Oil drops more than 3 percent
  • Global markets fall sharply
  • Qatar and Abu Dhabi’s indices rally on Thursday
  • Dollar drops, gold surges

Oil prices

Oil prices dropped over 3 percent on Friday after the United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariff on Mexico on Thursday, unless Mexico stopped people from illegally crossing into the U.S.

The plan would impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican imports starting on June 10 and increase monthly, up to 25 percent on October 1.

Brent crude futures fell $2.38, or 3.6%, to settle at $64.49 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $3.09 to $53.50 a barrel, a 5.5% loss.

Brent touched a session low of $64.37 a barrel, lowest since March 8. WTI hit $53.41 a barrel, weakest since Feb. 14.

“U.S. refiners import roughly 680,000 barrels per day of Mexican crude. The 5% tariff adds an extra $2 million to the cost of their daily purchases,” PVM analysts said, according to a Reuters report.

Global markets

Global markets also dropped sharply, following Trump’s threat of tariffs on Mexican good.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.76%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.81%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 354.84 points, or 1.41%, to 24,815.04, the S&P 500 lost 36.8 points, or 1.32%, to 2,752.06 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 114.57 points, or 1.51%, to 7,453.15.

“Very clearly when we all thought that the main trade tensions in the world were between the U.S. and China or perhaps between the U.S. and Europe, we hadn’t realized there will be another trade tension with Mexico ... and it raises concerns about who the next country may be,” Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments, told Reuters.

Middle East markets

Qatar's index rose 3.4% on Thursday to hit its sharpest intra-day high since August 2018. Banks led the gains with Qatar National Bank leaping 4.4% and Commercial Bank soaring 9%.

The Abu Dhabi index climbed 2.8%, rising for the fourth straight session. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, jumped 4.1% to 14.9 dirhams, while Emirates Telecommunications Group was up 4.5%.

In Dubai, the index closed 0.8% higher, boosted by financial and real estate shares with its largest listed developer, Emaar Properties, adding 1.4% and the biggest lender Emirate's NBD, gaining 0.9%.

Saudi Arabia’s index was up 1.2 percent, a day after joining MSCI's emerging market index, led by Riyad Bank, which climbed 3.1% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries, which traded 1.6% up.

Egypt's blue-chip index closed 1.4% lower as 28 of its 30 stocks declined.

Kuwait’s premier market index gained 0.6 percent, Bahrain’s index edged 0.2 percent higher and Oman’s index edged 0.2 percent lower.


The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, pulled 0.1 percent lower to trade at 98.013.

Precious metals

Gold rose on Friday as the dollar retreated.

Spot gold jumped 1.3% to $1,305.17 an ounce by 1751 GMT, having hit its highest since April 11 at $1,306.64.

U.S. gold futures settled up 1.9% at $1,311.1.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)


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© ZAWYA 2019

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