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|11 February, 2018

Sunday Outlook: Oil prices ended the week lower

U.S. and Brent crude futures have slid more than 11% from this year’s peak in late January

Oil prices fell more than 3 percent on Friday as ongoing production cuts led by OPEC were undermined by a rise in crude supplies.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled down $1.95, or 3.2 percent, to $59.20, the lowest settlement since December 22.

Brent futures fell $2.02 a barrel, or 3.1 percent, to $62.79 a barrel, its lowest settlement since December 13.

U.S. and Brent crude futures have slid more than 11 percent from this year’s peak in late January.

In stocks, global markets bounced back on Friday, but still recorded one of their worst week in years.

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U.S. stocks ended with a more than 1 percent gain on Friday in a burst of buying, but still recorded their worst week in two years. Even with Friday’s gains, all three major U.S. indexes were down more than 5 percent for the week.

European shares fell 5.3 percent for the week, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 1.40 percent on Friday and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.04 percent.

In the Middle East, stock markets mostly edged down on Thursday tracking a drop in oil prices and global markets.

Saudi Arabia's index lost 0.2 percent with losers outnumbering gainers by 99 to 74. Food company Savola climbed in early trade after proposing to raise its cash dividend to 1 riyal per share for 2017 from 0.75 riyal for 2016, but it closed 0.6 percent lower.

Dubai's index slipped 0.9 percent as construction company Drake & Scull sank 3.5 percent.

Abu Dhabi's index edged up 0.1 percent as energy investment firm Abu Dhabi National Energy Co jumped 5.6 percent in heavy trade. The company reported a swing to an annual net profit of 171 million dirhams ($46.6 million) from a loss of 18.55 billion in 2016 that was due to an impairment charge.

In Qatar, the index edged up 0.1 percent as real estate firm United Development gained 2.7 percent after reporting a 14 percent fall in annual net profit, in line with its first-half rate of decline, despite a further weakening of the local property market in the second half.

Egypt’s index slipped 0.8 percent, Bahrain’s index fell 0.3 percent and Kuwait’s index edged down 0.1 percent.

In currencies, the dollar posted its best week in more than a year recovering from a three-year low set two weeks ago.

Against a basket of six major currencies, the greenback was up 0.22 percent on Friday. On the week, the dollar index gained 1.41 percent for its best week in almost 15 months.

Spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,314.49 an ounce on Friday, under pressure from a firmer dollar and worries about rising global interest rates.

In other news, average yields on Egypt's six-month and one-year treasury bills fell on Thursday, data from the central bank showed.

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© ZAWYA 2018