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Asia Stocks Rise, Dollar Rebounds as Irma Weakens

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  • Asia Stocks Rise, Dollar Rebounds as Irma Weakens

Asian stocks rose and the dollar rebounded from its lowest in more than two years as hurricane Irma’s force waned and the United Nations prepared to vote on tougher North Korean sanctions.

Japan’s Topix index was headed for its biggest gain in more than three months as a weaker yen gave a boost to exporters. Equities also advanced in Seoul and Hong Kong, and Treasuries fell after North Korea refrained from an expected missile test at the weekend.

The dollar rose against major peers as Irma, while devastating, didn’t reach the feared Category 5 storm that some had anticipated and looks to have spared Miami. The offshore yuan declined after China’s central bank was said to have removed a reserve requirement on the trading of foreign-exchange forwards.

Risk appetite also returned to the markets as the chances of Federal Reserve interest rate increases this year receded after the U.S. was struck by the first back-to-back major storms since 1964. New York Fed President William Dudley said in an interview with CNBC that hurricanes could affect the timing of rate hikes.

Still, the shadow of North Korea remains. Pyongyang warned of retaliation if the United Nations Security Council approves harsher sanctions in response to the North’s nuclear test. The UN will vote Monday on fresh sanctions, saying that Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program poses the most serious threat since World War II. Pyongyang “is closely following the moves of the U.S. with vigilance,” its state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Monday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

With Fed speakers now in a blackout period before next week’s policy meeting, the focus this week be on assessing the impact of natural disasters on U.S. growth. Investors will also parse data due on retail spending in the American economy and the U.S. consumer price index as inflation remains stubbornly low. U.S. CPI is projected to have risen in August at a faster pace.

Stocks

  • The Topix index advanced 1.4 percent as of 10:55 a.m. Tokyo time, on course for its steepest advance since early June. South Korea’s Kospi index was up 1 percent and the S&P/ASX 200 Index in Sydney rose 0.7 percent.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 1 percent, while gauges in China were also higher.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.5 percent. The underlying gauge fell 0.2 percent on Friday.
  • The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index jumped 0.6 percent to hit the highest since December 2007.

Currencies

  • The yen fell 0.5 percent to 108.42 per dollar.
  • The euro lost 0.2 percent to $1.2010.
  • The Aussie was at 80.40 U.S. cents, down 0.2 percent.
  • The Korean won was little changed at 1,128.95 per dollar.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose more than 0.2 percent. It lost 1.5 percent last week, its worst week since May.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes climbed almost four basis points to 2.09 percent.
  • Australian 10-year bond yields rose about four basis points to 2.61 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.8 percent to $47.84 a barrel in early trading after losing 3.3 percent on Friday.
  • Gold declined 0.7 percent to $1,336.89.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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