Light Crude Musters Weekly Gain
(Bloomberg) -- Oil edged higher with a weaker dollar overshadowing signs of a slowing global economic recovery.
U.S. crude futures flipped between gains and losses during Friday’s session, eventually closing higher and posting a 1.7% increase for the week. The dollar weakening to the lowest since January boosted the appeal of commodities priced in the greenback, while fears over a demand slowdown in the wake of growing inventories and a rising coronavirus case count were put on the backburner.
“The market’s caught between two strong and opposing forces,” said Bill O’Grady, executive vice president at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis. “On the one side, you’ve got a storage overhang that is persistent, on the other hand, you’ve got a weakening dollar, you’ve got negative real interest rates and these factors tend to be bullish for commodities in general and crude in particular.”
U.S. crude’s recovery from negative territory in April has largely stalled as futures trade range-bound this month amid signs the pandemic is flaring up again around the world. In the U.S., virus cases surpassed 4 million, in South Africa, infections doubled over the past 17 days and the virus count in Brazil sits above the 2 million mark. Schlumberger Ltd. warned that new waves of Covid-19 could derail the nascent recovery in global energy demand.
Yet, crude markets have gathered steady support from the weaker dollar, which is headed for its worst month since the start of 2018 as investors line up to short the greenback. Reports of euro-area growth also boosted sentiment and helped push oil higher.
- West Texas Intermediate for September delivery rose 22 cents to settle at $41.29 a barrel.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as much as 0.6% Friday.
- Brent for September settlement edged up 3 cents to end the session at $43.34 a barrel.
The global benchmark’s prompt spread, at 44 cents in contango, was at its weakest since May.
Meanwhile, China ordered the U.S. to close its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu, following through on retaliation threats after the Trump administration’s unprecedented decision to shut down the Chinese mission in Houston.
Other oil-market news:
- Russia’s tough negotiations with Saudi Arabia -- and the pain of a month long price war -- have helped revive an idea that Moscow could hedge its oil revenues, thus gaining flexibility in OPEC+ talks, people with knowledge of the matter said.
- Russia is set to boost seaborne export of Urals crude in August by 42% from July’s decade low.
- Tropical Storm Hanna will strengthen right up until it comes ashore on the southern Texas coast Saturday, while Hurricane Douglas will lose much of its power as it bears down on Hawaii.
- Oil explorers expanded drilling in U.S. fields for the first time in four months, halting a record streak of rig retirements triggered by a Saudi-Russian price war and the virus-driven demand collapse.
--With assistance from James Thornhill, Anna Edwards, Matthew Miller, Sharon Cho and Alex Longley.
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