|16 December, 2018

Sunday outlook: Oil prices drop on weak Chinese economic data

Oil prices dropped on weak Chinese data, suggesting lower oil demand. Most global markets retreated on Friday, 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 fell on Friday on weak Chinese data
  • Global markets dropped on Friday as trade tensions weighed on sentiment
  • Real estate stocks boosted Dubai’s index on Thursday
  • Dollar strengthens, gold steadies

Oil prices

Oil prices fell on Friday, as weak Chinese data signalled lower fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil importer.

China’s November retail sales grew at their weakest pace since 2003 and industrial output rose the least in nearly three years.

Brent crude futures fell $1.17 to settle at $60.28 a barrel, a 1.90 percent loss. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures lost $1.38 to settle at $51.20 a barrel, a 2.62 percent loss.

Global benchmark Brent posted a weekly loss of almost 2.3 percent, while WTI declined nearly 2.7 percent.

“Oil came under pressure out of poor economic data from China overnight, dampening enthusiasm for good oil demand growth in 2019 in light of a currently oversupplied market,” Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, told Reuters.

Global markets

Global markets dropped on Friday as investors weighed the impact of the trade dispute between the United States and China, as well as weak economic data from Beijing.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.63 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe fell 1.58 percent.

On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 496.87 points, or 2.02 percent, to 24,100.51, the S&P 500 lost 50.59 points, or 1.91 percent, to 2,599.95 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 159.67 points, or 2.26 percent, to 6,910.67.

“Certainly people are now starting to look through to end of cycle and say what could end of cycle look like,” Erik Knutzen, multi-asset class chief investment officer at Neuberger Berman in New York, told Reuters.

“While we do expect equities to provide a reasonable return next year, as you get later in the cycle, the posture is probably to fade rallies as opposed to keep risk on through the end.”

Middle East markets

Dubai’s stock market rose 1.0 percent on Thursday, boosted by real estate shares.

Emaar Development gained 7.6 percent. Union Properties and Dubai Investments added 7.4 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

Abu Dhabi’s index gained 0.5 percent with Aldar Properties adding 5.2 percent.

The Saudi index gained 0.3 percent with real estate firm Jabal Omar rising 2.6 percent and Saudi Telecom Company climbing 2.0 percent.

Qatar's main index edged 0.2 percent higher with Qatar National Bank gaining 0.8 percent and Industries Qatar rising 1.0 percent.

Egypt’s index rose 1.1 percent with Talaat Mostafa Group adding 5.7 percent and Global Telecom climbing 4.4 percent.

Kuwait’s index was mainly flat, while Bahrain’s index edged 0.1 percent lower and Oman’s index dropped 0.8 percent.

Currencies

Solid U.S. data boosted the dollar on Friday as consumer spending strengthened in the U.S.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.4 percent.

Precious metals

Gold prices steadied on Friday.

Spot gold was steady at $1,242.11 per ounce, as of 0133 GMT. Prices fell to their lowest level since Dec. 7 at $1,239.83 on Thursday.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.1 percent at $1,246.4 per ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Shane McGinley)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)


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