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Markets Today – Resilience, Lower Growth Forecasts, OPEC+, Oil, Gold, Bitcoin

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gold bars - Investors King

By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA

A mixed day that has seen European indices slip a little into the red, while Wall Street is enjoying better returns of more than 1% on Tuesday.

US equities are managing decent gains even as yields continue to head higher and traders are forced to consider the possibility of 75 basis point increases, something not seen in almost three decades.

That is what James Bullard has indicated, although even he – one of the more hawkish members of the FOMC – acknowledged that is not his base case at the moment. Still, the prospect of even more aggressive tightening can’t sit well with investors, despite the resilience they’ve shown in recent months.

It’s been a turbulent few months for stock markets, what with investors facing the prospect of higher inflation, faster rate hikes, lower growth and a prolonged war in Ukraine. And yet as we navigate through the early stages of first quarter earnings season, we’re continuing to see the kind of resilience we often associate with stock markets, particularly those in the US.

And it comes as organisations like the IMF and World Bank lower growth and raise inflation forecasts for this year and next. Naturally, some countries are coming off worse than others, with the UK situation looking particularly bleak.

And with Russia intensifying its attacks and talks appear to have hit a brick wall, the prospect of a ceasefire being agreed upon looks increasingly unlikely any time soon. That should keep commodity prices high and further fuel inflation and interest rate concerns. The cost-of-living crisis is only going to get worse, it seems.

Oil slips back but upside risks remain

Another volatile day of trade in oil markets has seen Brent and WTI falling around 5%. Lower growth forecasts and slower Chinese growth at the end of the first quarter amid lockdowns appear to have driven the bulk of the move, although it comes following a strong four-day rally after the world’s second-largest economy started easing restrictions.

There remain plenty of upside risks to the oil price, even at these levels, which makes today’s large declines all the more interesting. Protests in Libya have knocked out around half a million barrels per day of output which contributed to Monday’s rally. While this is only a temporary hit, it comes at a bad time as far as global supply is concerned.

As was evidenced by reports of OPEC+ compliance hitting 157% in March, up from 132% in February. In other words, OPEC+ produced 1.45 million barrels per day less than it promised as part of the deal to gradually return output to pre-pandemic levels.

Profit-taking seen at $2,000

Gold prices neared $2,000 on Monday but have since pulled back and are down a little over 1% today. This comes as yields continue to rise, along with the dollar, which may be limiting the upside in the yellow metal, even as inflation remains a major problem and investors cling on to safe havens. Still, while we may be seeing a corrective move, the recent trend has been strong and we may see further runs at $2,000 despite initial profit-taking.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Decline for Third Consecutive Day on Weaker Economic Data and Inventory Concerns

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Crude Oil

Oil prices extended their decline for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as concerns over weaker economic data and increasing commercial inventories in the United States weighed on oil outlook.

Brent oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 51 cents to $89.51 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell by 41 cents to $84.95 a barrel.

The softening of oil prices this week reflects the impact of economic headwinds on global demand, dampening the gains typically seen from geopolitical tensions.

Market observers are closely monitoring how Israel might respond to Iran’s recent attack, though analysts suggest that this event may not significantly affect Iran’s oil exports.

John Evans, an oil broker at PVM, remarked on the situation, noting that oil prices are readjusting after factoring in a “war premium” and facing setbacks in hopes for interest rate cuts.

The anticipation for interest rate cuts received a blow as top U.S. Federal Reserve officials, including Chair Jerome Powell, refrained from providing guidance on the timing of such cuts. This dashed investors’ expectations for significant reductions in borrowing costs this year.

Similarly, Britain’s slower-than-expected inflation rate in March hinted at a delay in the Bank of England’s rate cut, while inflation across the euro zone suggested a potential rate cut by the European Central Bank in June.

Meanwhile, concerns about U.S. crude inventories persist, with a Reuters poll indicating a rise of about 1.4 million barrels last week. Official data from the Energy Information Administration is awaited, scheduled for release on Wednesday.

Adding to the mix, Tengizchevroil announced plans for maintenance at one of six production trains at the Tengiz oilfield in Kazakhstan in May, further influencing market sentiment.

As the oil market navigates through a landscape of economic indicators and geopolitical events, investors remain vigilant for cues that could dictate future price movements.

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Commodities

Dangote Refinery Cuts Diesel Price to ₦1,000 Amid Economic Boost

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Aliko Dangote - Investors King

Dangote Petroleum Refinery has reduced the price of diesel from ₦1200 to ₦1,000 per litre.

This price adjustment is in response to the demand of oil marketers, who last week clamoured for a lower price.

Just three weeks ago, the refinery had already made waves by lowering the price of diesel to ₦1,200 per litre, a 30% reduction from the previous market price of around ₦1,600 per litre.

Now, with the latest reduction to ₦1,000 per litre, Dangote Refinery is demonstrating its commitment to providing accessible and affordable fuel to consumers across the country.

This move is expected to have far-reaching implications for Nigeria’s economy, particularly in tackling high inflation rates and promoting economic stability.

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and the owner of the refinery, expressed confidence that the reduction in diesel prices would contribute to a drop in inflation, offering hope for improved economic conditions.

Dangote stated that the Nigerian people have demonstrated patience amidst economic challenges, and he believes that this reduction in diesel prices is a step in the right direction.

He pointed out the aggressive devaluation of the naira, which has significantly impacted the country’s economy, and sees the price reduction as a positive development that will benefit Nigerians.

With this latest move, Dangote Refinery is not only reshaping the fuel market but also reaffirming its commitment to driving positive change and progress in Nigeria.

The reduction in diesel prices is expected to provide relief to consumers, businesses, and various sectors of the economy, paving the way for a brighter and more prosperous future.

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Crude Oil

IEA Cuts 2024 Oil Demand Growth Forecast by 100,000 Barrels per Day

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Crude Oil

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reduced its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2024 by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The agency cited a sluggish start to the year in developed economies as a key factor contributing to the downward revision.

According to the latest Oil Market Report released by the IEA, global oil consumption has continued to experience a slowdown in growth momentum with first-quarter growth estimated at 1.6 million bpd.

This figure falls short of the IEA’s previous forecast by 120,000 bpd, indicating a more sluggish demand recovery than anticipated.

With much of the post-Covid rebound already realized, the IEA now projects global oil demand to grow by 1.2 million bpd in 2024.

Furthermore, growth is expected to decelerate further to 1.1 million bpd in the following year, reflecting ongoing challenges in the market.

This revision comes just a month after the IEA had raised its outlook for 2024 oil demand growth by 110,000 bpd from its February report.

At that time, the agency had expected demand growth to reach 1.3 million bpd for 2024, indicating a more optimistic outlook compared to the current revision.

The IEA’s latest demand growth estimates diverge significantly from those of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). While the IEA projects modest growth, OPEC maintains its forecast of robust global oil demand growth of 2.2 million bpd for 2024, consistent with its previous assessment.

However, uncertainties loom over the global oil market, particularly due to geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions.

The IEA has highlighted the impact of drone attacks from Ukraine on Russian refineries, which could potentially disrupt fuel markets globally.

Up to 600,000 bpd of Russia’s refinery capacity could be offline in the second quarter due to these attacks, according to the IEA’s assessment.

Furthermore, unplanned outages in Europe and tepid Chinese activity have contributed to a lowered forecast of global refinery throughputs for 2024.

The IEA now anticipates refinery throughputs to rise by 1 million bpd to 83.3 million bpd, reflecting the challenges facing the refining sector.

The situation has raised concerns among policymakers, with the United States expressing worries over the impact of Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian oil refineries.

There are fears that these attacks could lead to retaliatory measures from Russia and result in higher international oil prices.

As the global oil market navigates through these challenges, stakeholders will closely monitor developments and adjust their strategies accordingly to adapt to the evolving landscape.

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