|08 February, 2018

Oil prices fell on Thursday

Ongoing production cuts led by OPEC were undermined

Oil prices dropped early on Thursday as ongoing production cuts led by OPEC were undermined by a rise in U.S. production.

Brent crude futures were at $65.20 per barrel at 0226 GMT, down 31 cents, or 0.5 percent, from the previous close. Brent slipped to its lowest for the year at $65.12 a barrel early in the session.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.46 a barrel. That was down 33 cents, or 0.5 percent, from the last settlement, though still some way off its $60.10 2018 low on January 2.

In stocks, Asian shares were trading near six-week lows on Thursday as U.S. stocks ran out of steam on Wednesday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.1 percent in early Thursday trade, staying near its six-week low touched on Tuesday.

In the Middle East, most stock markets gained on Wednesday, tracking a rebound in global markets.

Dubai's index ended the day 0.8 percent higher with Emaar Properties adding 1.1 percent. Neighbouring Abu Dhabi added 1.2 percent as First Abu Dhabi Bank climbed 1.3 percent.

The Saudi index rose almost 1 percent in early trade but closed 0.7 percent lower at the end of the trading session dragged down by a drop in petrochemical and cement shares.

Al Yamamah Steel Industries sank 6.2 percent after saying quarterly net profit tumbled to 6.7 million riyals ($1.8 million) from 29 million riyals a year ago because of a slowdown in projects and stiff competition. SICO Bahrain had forecast a profit of 22.3 million riyals.

Qatar's index surged 2.7 percent in active trade.

Egypt’s index added 2.2 percent, Kuwait’s index rose 0.5 percent, while Bahrain’s index fell 0.2 percent.

In currencies, the dollar index against a basket of six major rival currencies rose to a two-week high on Wednesday.

Early on Thursday the dollar index was steady.

Gold prices hit a four-week low of $1,311.6 an ounce early on Thursday as a stronger dollar weighted on the precious metal.

In other news, Egypt’s central bank data showed on Wednesday that foreign debt rose to $80.8 billion in the quarter that ended in September, up 2.3 percent compared with three months earlier.

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© ZAWYA 2018

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