Oil prices tumble on fears of global economic recovery

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Crude oil prices suffered their worst trading loss in a month, tumbling by more than 2% at Friday’s trading session.

Oil prices were under pressure on fears that recent COVID-19 lockdown measures sighted in the world’s largest buyer of crude oil, China, could in the coming days exhibit weakness in energy demand.

What you should know: A strong U.S dollar, the currency on which crude oil is primarily sold, made purchasing of the commodity less competitive for holders in other currencies like the Euro, Japanese yen, thereby weighing on oil prices

  • U.S based oil contract, West Texas Intermediate futures, plunged by 2.2.% to settle at $52.36 per barrel. It is the oil contract’s biggest one-day drop since December 18, although it rounded out the week with a 0.5% upsides.
  • The British-based oil contract, which is the global benchmark for crude, settled down $1.32, after losing 2.3% at $55.10. For the week, Brent crude prices lost about 1.6% in value.
  • The world’s second-largest economy ramped up lockdowns yesterday, after reporting the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases in more than 10 months.

China capped a week that has resulted in more than 28 million people under lockdown as it suffered its first COVID-19 death on the mainland since May.

Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, in a note to Nairametrics, spoke on the prevailing macro conditions keeping oil prices relatively high, taking into account Saudi’s recent pledge to curb production, and the influx of COVID-19 vaccines to tame the ravaging virus:

“With Saudi Arabia providing the cornerstone and bridging the gap to vaccine oil market lift-off. With the renewed enthusiasm about the US demand recovery due to the prospects for more stimulus and the new administration’s pledge to focus on the vaccinations’ rollout, oil prices are lifting higher locking to hash out higher ranges.”

What to expect: Oil traders are entering a critical phase as oil remains sensitive to the news, with negative implications for the demand recovery.

The oil market recovery is vital for blunting the effect of higher nominal US Treasury yields through the reflationary channel. If oil doesn’t fly higher, the reflation trade could fall flat on its face.

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