Oil, stocks recover on stimulus hopes, Russia signals Opec talks - GulfToday

Oil, stocks recover on stimulus hopes, Russia signals Opec talks


People walk past a currency exchange office in Moscow on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

Oil prices jumped by around 8% on Tuesday a day after the biggest rout in nearly 30 years as investors eyed the possibility of economic stimulus and Russia signalled that talks with Opec remained possible.

US President Donald Trump on Monday said he will be taking “major” steps to gird the US economy against the impact of the spreading coronavirus outbreak, while Japan’s government plans to spend more than $4 billion in a second package of steps to cope with the virus.

Brent crude futures were up $2.80, around 8%, to $37.16 a barrel, after hitting a session high of $38.22 a barrel.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained $2.42, or around 8%, to $33.55 a barrel, after hitting a high of $34.60.

Both benchmarks plunged 25% on Monday, dropping to their lowest levels since February 2016 and recording their biggest one-day percentage declines since Jan. 17, 1991, when oil prices fell at the outset of the first Gulf War.

Trading volumes in the front-month for both contracts hit record highs in the previous session after three years of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Russia and other major oil producers to limit supply fell apart on Friday, triggering a price war for market share.

Saudi, the world’s biggest oil exporter, escalated tensions with plans to supply 12.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, well above current production levels of 9.7 million bpd, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Tuesday.

April’s crude supply will be “300,000 barrels per day over the company’s maximum sustained capacity of 12 million bpd,” Nasser said in a statement received by Reuters.

Price pared gains by over a $1 on the news.

Russian oil minister Alexander Novak said he did not rule out joint measures with Opec to stabilise the market, adding that the next Opec+ meeting was planned for May-June.

But in response, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister told Reuters he did not see a need to hold an Opec+ meeting in May-June if there was no agreement on what measures should be taken to deal with the impact of the coronavirus on oil demand and prices.

“I fail to see the wisdom for holding meetings in May-June that would only demonstrate our failure in attending to what we should have done in a crisis like this and taking the necessary measures,” Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said.

“Price wars and pandemics are nothing new to the commodity markets, but both occurring simultaneously is something we have yet to witness in our careers,” RBC analysts said in a note.

“Such action will test the market’s self-balancing mechanism absent the backstop of Opec, a mechanism that has not been tested since the US shale boom was in its infancy,” they added.

Sentiment was also lifted after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, for the first time since the epidemic began, and as the spread of the virus in mainland China slows sharply.

Crude was also supported by hopes for a settlement to the price war and potential US output cuts, although analysts warned gains may be temporary as oil demand continues to be hit by the virus outbreak, which has spread beyond China and prompted Italy to implement a nationwide lockdown.

Meanwhile, global stocks, oil and other financial markets around the world clawed back some of their historic plunge from a day before amid hopes that the US and other governments around the world will pump in more aid for a virus-weakened global economy.

Investors welcomed Tuesday’s reprieve but weren’t pretending that this is the end to the market’s huge swings, which took the S&P 500 on Monday to its worst day since the 2008 financial crisis.

“Markets are surging on hopes of a huge stimulus plan from (US President) Donald Trump, but will it be enough to reverse the selloff?” said analyst Joshua Mahony at trading firm IG.

In early afternoon trade, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies was up 2.7 per cent.  In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 climbed 2.0 percent and the Paris CAC 40 added 2.1 percent.

In Milan, the FTSE MIB rose 0.5 percent, having plunged more than 11 percent Monday, after the Italian government unveiled more drastic measures to curb the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Gold prices fell more than 1% on Tuesday, pulling back after breaching $1,700 in the previous session, as risk sentiment improved and the dollar firmed on expected global support measures to soften the economic impact from the coronavirus.

Spot Gold lost 1% to $1,662.56 an ounce by 1206 GMT. US Gold futures fell 0.7% to $1,663.70.

“It’s the stabilisation in financial markets; we see gains in stock markets, yields are edging up, dollar is up. So factors which had supported Gold in the last few days are now turning negative for it,” said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig.

Bullion rose as much as 1.7% on Monday to its highest since December 2012 at $1,702.56 after a rout in global equity markets on fears over the coronavirus and a crash in crude oil prices triggered by a price war between top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.


Related articles