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Stalled Rebound

The ripple effects of the FTX debacle continue to flow through the crypto industry revealing other vulnerabilities and weighing heavily on prices even amid a broader financial market risk rebound



Gold and Bitcoin - Investors King

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

The risk rebound in the markets has stalled and equity markets are down around 1% on Thursday following quite a good run over the last month.

The day we’ve all been waiting for

The Autumn Statement has been a long time coming after the disastrous mini-budget almost two months ago. The UK’s fiscal credibility was in the gutter, the pound was crushed and borrowing costs soared. Since then, a lot has changed and today’s budget highlighted just how much that is the case.

Fully regaining credibility won’t be easy but markets appear far happier now than they were back in September. The pound is lower on the day but only marginally so and the bulk of the announcements will have been priced in as they were leaked in recent days. Borrowing costs are slightly higher on the day and Bank Rate is expected to peak around 4.5%, still very high but far from the levels reached in September.

All in all, the government may be pleased with how today has gone but time will tell whether the public agrees as everyone pours over what was quite an extensive budget. It’s not just the markets that needed convincing today after all, with a little over two years until the next election and a significant deficit still to overcome in the polls.

US data reinforces Fed position on rates despite weak housing

The latest US economic data represented a continuation of what we’ve seen for months. A housing market suffering under the pressure of higher interest rates and a labour market that is incredibly resilient to them. While the former may be a concern for the central bank as it further raises rates in the months ahead, the latter remains the reason why many at the Fed support such moves as it increases the possibility of inflation remaining stubborn on the way back down.

Oil slips amid easing geopolitical risk and China woes

Oil prices are slipping as we move through the week, with easing geopolitical risk and Chinese demand weighing. Prices spiked earlier in the week after missiles landed in Poland, risking a dramatic escalation in the war in Ukraine. Thankfully, those fears have abated and the situation de-escalated which has seen oil gains unwound.

China remains a downside risk for oil in the near term, despite its recent relaxation of certain Covid curbs. A surge in cases in major cities, mass testing, and restrictions will hit economic activity despite recent measures which will weigh on demand in the world’s second-largest economy. Still, Brent remains within its $90-$100 range for now and OPEC+ may continue to ensure that largely remains the case.

Gold stalls but the future may be looking bright

We’re seeing more risk aversion in the markets today after a strong rebound in recent weeks. Gold has performed well in this period, particularly in the aftermath of the Fed decision and jobs report and then after the inflation data. The PPI numbers further supported the view that inflation is easing and could be sustained which saw gold rally towards $1,780 where it stalled.

It is now paring gains for a second day, off around 1%, but still holding onto the bulk of the gains of recent weeks. If the data continues to improve on the inflation side, we could see gold build on recent gains as the dollar eases and yields are pared back. That’s a big “if” after what we’ve seen this year but the data we’ve seen in recent weeks has been very promising.

Risks remain tilted to the downside

The ripple effects of the FTX debacle continue to flow through the crypto industry revealing other vulnerabilities and weighing heavily on prices even amid a broader financial market risk rebound. Bitcoin is trading relatively flat today around $16,500 but the risks remain skewed to the downside amid immense uncertainty.

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

Crude Oil

Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China



Crude Oil

Oil prices showed signs of recovery on Thursday after a recent slump to a six-month low, with Brent crude oil appreciating by 1% to $75.06 a barrel while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil also rose by 1% to $70.05 a barrel.

However, investor concerns persist over sluggish demand in both the United States and China.

The market’s unease was triggered by data indicating that U.S. oil output remains close to record highs despite falling inventories.

U.S. gasoline stocks rose unexpectedly by 5.4 million barrels to 223.6 million barrels, adding to the apprehension.

China, the world’s largest oil importer, also contributed to market jitters as crude oil imports in November dropped by 9% from the previous year.

High inventory levels, weak economic indicators, and reduced orders from independent refiners were cited as factors weakening demand.

Moody’s recent warnings on credit downgrades for Hong Kong, Macau, Chinese state-owned firms, and banks further fueled concerns about China’s economic stability.

Oil prices have experienced a 10% decline since OPEC+ announced voluntary output cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day for the first quarter of the next year.

In response to falling prices, OPEC+ member Algeria stated that it would consider extending or deepening oil supply cuts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met to discuss further oil price cooperation, potentially boosting market confidence in the effectiveness of output cuts.

Russia, part of OPEC+, pledged increased transparency regarding fuel refining and exports, addressing concerns about undisclosed fuel shipments.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts



OPEC - Investors King

Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.

Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.

Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.

“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.

Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.

Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.

Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.

Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.

The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.

Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.

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Crude Oil

U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC




U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.

The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.

Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.

This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.

While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.

The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.

Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.

Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.

This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.

In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.

However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.

Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.

While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.

The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.

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