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|09 May, 2019

Thursday outlook: Oil prices drop despite fall in U.S. crude stocks

Brent crude oil futures were at $69.72 a barrel by 0251 GMT, down 65 cents, or 0.9 percent, from their previous settlement

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 fail to gain momentum from lower U.S. inventories
  • Asian shares drop again on trade tensions
  • Egypt’s EGX30 drops 2.5 percent
  • Dollar, gold remain unchanged

Oil prices

Oil prices retreated early on Thursday as trade tensions between the United States and China weighed on investor sentiment, while a drop in United States’ crude stockpiles failed to boost prices.

The United States President Donald Trump tweeted comments on Sunday that trade talks with China were proceeding “too slowly”, and that he would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Friday from 10 percent.

He also said he would target a further $325 billion of Chinese goods with 25 percent tariffs “shortly”.

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would join a delegation of Chinese officials to have further trade talks on Thursday and Friday with the Trump administration.

An unexpected drop in U.S. crude inventories kept oil price declines in check. U.S. crude inventories fell by 4 million barrels in the week to May 3, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Brent crude oil futures were at $69.72 a barrel by 0251 GMT, down 65 cents, or 0.9 percent, from their previous settlement.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.52 per barrel, down 60 cents, or 1 percent.

“The inventory numbers from the U.S. only gave oil a transitory boost. It is going to be all about whether the trade talks today can stop Friday’s tariff-geddon,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA in Singapore, told Reuters.

Global markets

Trade tensions also weighed on Asian shares in early trading on Thursday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1 percent to its lowest level since March 28.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose marginally, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Middle East markets

Egypt's blue-chip index EGX30 dropped 2.5 percent on Wednesday, with 29 out of 30 stocks retreating. Property developer Emaar Misr For Development fell 4.7 percent after reporting a 16.8 percent fall in its first-quarter net profit. 

The Saudi index was down 0.8 percent. Al Rajhi Bank, lost 2 percent and Riyad Bank shed 1 percent.

Dubai's index was down 0.5 percent as DAMAC Properties and Emaar Properties fell 2.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Abu Dhabi's index closed flat. Abu Dhabi National Hotels jumped 14.7 percent in light trade.

The Qatari index dropped 1.3 percent, with 18 of the 20 stocks declining. Heavyweights Industries Qatar and Commercial Bank fell 2.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Kuwait’s premier market index gained 0.9 percent, Bahrain’s index edged 0.1 percent lower and Oman’s index dropped 0.7 percent.

Currencies

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was little changed at 97.582.

Precious metals

Gold prices steadied early on Thursday.

Spot gold firm at $1,280.76 per ounce at 0317 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were also steady at $1,281.30.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)


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