By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA
As was to be expected, it’s been a choppy week so far in financial markets with Europe a very mixed bag on Tuesday while US futures are marginally higher after making marginal losses on Monday.
On the one hand, we could be seeing investors warily waiting for the FOMC minutes and taking in all of the speeches from various Fed officials in the meantime. On the other, this week may just be a void in an otherwise turbulent year thanks to a lack of major catalysts and the US Thanksgiving bank holiday at the end of the week.
Saudi Arabia has gone some way to filling that void, with so much attention now likely to be on the Gulf over the coming weeks. It goes without saying that it came as quite a shock as everything unfolded as it wasn’t what anyone was expecting, quite the opposite in fact. And it could have a major impact on the outcome next month.
But the 2-1 win over one of the tournament favourites, Argentina, was a monumental victory and undoubtedly one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history. It’s blown Group C wide open and cast serious doubt over whether Lionel Messi will ever get his hands on the trophy.
In other news, Saudi Arabia also rejected reports that OPEC+ is considering increasing output on 4 December.
OPEC+ speculation drives oil market volatility
Oil prices are bouncing back as OPEC+ members continue to reject reports of an output hike at the next meeting. An announcement from the G7 around the Russian oil price cap is due any day now and could complicate the group’s mission to balance supply and demand in the market, especially if the Kremlin responds by slashing exports to participating countries, as they’ve threatened.
That Russia is a key member of the alliance seriously complicates matters. I do wonder whether members could consider reconfiguring output targets, rather than boosting them, in order to account for lost Russian crude. Of course, that would likely require the backing of Russia which may not be forthcoming.
Oil prices will likely remain highly volatile over the next couple of weeks against this backdrop, with the EU embargo and potential price cap scheduled to start the day after the OPEC+ meeting on 4 December. If the cap agreement goes to the wire, OPEC+ may opt to delay the meeting given the uncertainty it would generate.
Gold rebounds off the prior resistance level
The slight recovery in risk appetite today is coinciding with a pullback in the US dollar and a rebound in gold. The yellow metal has held onto the bulk of November’s gains over the last week, seeing support around $1,730 on Monday where it met firm resistance on multiple occasions in September and October.
The key level to the upside remains $1,780 where it peaked around last week and saw substantial support around in the first half of the year.
Another dead cat bounce?
Bitcoin is trading higher on Tuesday, but for how long? The knock-on effects of the FTX collapse are still being uncovered, with more names being added to the exposure list every day. Confidence in the markets has been shattered and it may take time to rebuild.
There remains considerable uncertainty around the full consequences of the FTX collapse and as long as that remains the case, any rallies we see in cryptos may simply become dead cat bounces, as opposed to market bottoms. The latest occurred around $15,500, where it rebounded off a couple of weeks ago, and a break of this could trigger another sharp decline.
Crude Oil Dips Slightly on Friday Amid Demand Concerns
On Friday, global crude oil prices experienced a slight dip, primarily attributed to mounting concerns surrounding demand despite signs of a tightening market.
Brent crude prices edged lower, nearing $83 per barrel, following a recent uptick of 1.6% over two consecutive sessions.
Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hovered around $78 per barrel. Despite the dip, market indicators suggest a relatively robust market, with US crude inventories expanding less than anticipated in the previous week.
The oil market finds itself amidst a complex dynamic, balancing optimistic signals such as reduced OPEC+ output and heightened tensions in the Middle East against persistent worries about Chinese demand, particularly as the nation grapples with economic challenges.
This delicate equilibrium has led oil futures to mirror the oscillations of broader stock markets, underscoring the interconnectedness of global economic factors.
Analysts, including Michael Tran from RBC Capital Markets LLC, highlight the recurring theme of robust oil demand juxtaposed with concerning Chinese macroeconomic data, contributing to market volatility.
Also, recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants have added a risk premium to oil futures, reflecting geopolitical uncertainties beyond immediate demand-supply dynamics.
While US crude inventories saw a slight rise, they remain below seasonal averages, indicating some resilience in the market despite prevailing uncertainties.
Nigeria’s Petrol Imports Decrease by 1 Billion Litres Following Subsidy Removal
Nigeria’s monthly petrol imports declined by approximately 1 billion litres following the fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported.
The NBS findings illuminate the tangible effects of this policy shift on the country’s petroleum importation dynamics.
Prior to the subsidy removal, the NBS report delineated a consistent pattern of petrol imports with quantities ranging between 1.91 billion and 2.29 billion litres from March to May 2023.
However, in the aftermath of Tinubu’s decision, the nation witnessed a notable downturn in petrol imports, with figures plummeting to 1.64 billion litres in June, the first post-subsidy month.
This downward trend persisted in subsequent months, with July recording a further reduction to 1.45 billion litres and August witnessing a significant decline to 1.09 billion litres.
August’s import figures represented a decrease of over 1 billion litres compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
The NBS report underscores the pivotal role of the subsidy removal in reshaping Nigeria’s petrol import landscape with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company emerging as the sole importer of fuel in the current scenario.
Despite higher petrol imports in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year, the decline in June, July, and August underscores the profound impact of subsidy removal on import dynamics, affirming the NBS’s latest findings.
Nigeria’s Oil Rig Count Soars From 11 to 30, Says NUPRC CEO
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, has announced a surge in the country’s oil rig count.
Komolafe disclosed that Nigeria’s oil rigs have escalated from 11 to 30, a substantial increase since 2011.
Attributing this surge to concerted efforts by NUPRC and other governmental stakeholders, Komolafe highlighted the importance of instilling confidence, certainty, and predictability in the oil and gas industry.
He explained the pivotal role of the recently implemented Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which has spurred significant capital expenditure amounting to billions of dollars over the past two and a half years.
Speaking in Lagos after receiving The Sun Award, Komolafe underscored the effective discharge of NUPRC’s statutory mandate, which has contributed to the success stories witnessed in the sector.
The surge in Nigeria’s oil rig count signifies a tangible measure of vibrant activities within the upstream oil and gas sector, reflecting increased drilling activity and heightened industry dynamism.
Also, Komolafe noted that NUPRC has issued over 17 regulations aimed at enhancing certainty and predictability in industry operations, aligning with the objectives outlined in the PIA.
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