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Gold and Bitcoin - Investors King

RBA Joins Super-Sized Club

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

Stock markets are back in the red on Tuesday, giving back the bulk of Monday’s gains in a sign of ongoing uncertainty as to the direction of equity markets and the economy.

There is clearly appetite at these levels but that’s not being backed up by the momentum of any kind. Hardly surprising given the sheer uncertainty around inflation, interest rates and the economy. Central banks are racing to catch up but that may come at a great cost.

The RBA overnight became the latest to join the super-sized club, following in the footsteps of the Fed, BoC and RBNZ, among others. The decision to hike by 50 basis points came as quite a shock to the markets, with 25 priced in ahead of the meeting. It was the biggest hike in more than two decades and another sign of policymakers belatedly recognising the urgency of the inflation problem. And there’s plenty more to come.

The ECB is very late to the party but will likely announce an end to net asset purchases on Thursday and a desire to raise rates from next month, bringing the deposit rate out of negative territory in the third quarter. This doesn’t exactly fall into the bracket of recognising the urgency but then it is the ECB, so by its standards perhaps it does.

The BoE was early to the party compared to many of its peers and it’s also been the first to concede defeat on a recession, something others may follow on in the months ahead. If today’s UK BRC retail sales data is a sign of things to come then the BoE is right to be so pessimistic. The cost-of-living crisis has well and truly arrived and the data suggests households are already cutting back. The final PMI data, while much better than the flash reading, was also a big drop from April and reflects the more pessimistic outlook.

One thing the UK won’t have to deal with (yet) is political uncertainty after Boris survived the no-confidence vote. He didn’t exactly do it in an emphatic fashion though, leaving many to believe he has merely postponed his departure rather than prevent it altogether.

Oil struggling to hold above $120

Oil is continuing to struggle at around $120 on Tuesday, with Brent and WTI very slightly lower. We’ve seen $120 broken on a few occasions over the last week but each time it’s been quickly repelled in a sign of momentum starting to run a little thin. The fundamentals remain bullish for oil prices as China continues to reopen and the OPEC+ “production hike” does little to alleviate the tightness in the market. Still, it’s been a very strong run over the last month, with the price up more than 20% from the May lows. We could potentially see some profit-taking in the short-term but it’s hard to imagine it being too severe, barring significant growth downgrades or a surge in Covid cases in China.

Gold consolidation continues

As has so often been the case in recent weeks, gold is continuing to fluctuate around $1,850 today and showing little sign of a burst in either direction. It struggled once more around $1,870 on Friday, reinforcing it as a key area of resistance to the upside, while $1,830 continues to be the first line of support below. We may have to wait for the inflation data at the end of the week for an interesting move in either direction.

Another failed break higher

Bitcoin is also trading around the same level it has for most of the last month but at least the price action this week has been a little more interesting. A 6% rally on Monday has been followed by a 6% decline today, taking bitcoin back below $30,000 and confusing crypto traders in the process. It’s really struggling to hang onto rallies much to the frustration and perhaps even concern of the crypto crowd. This remains a key level and a break to the downside could cause far more stress than it did almost a month ago.

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Crude Oil

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



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



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



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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