Oil Extends Rebound
(Bloomberg) -- Oil extended its recovery from a five-month low as reports that Washington may engage more with its trade foes eased fears of slumping crude demand.
Crude futures in New York recouped most of their weekly losses, climbing as much as 1.6% Friday after a 1.8% jump on Thursday, the biggest daily advance in six weeks. Trade talks between the U.S. and Mexico are set to continue Friday, amid reports that Trump administration officials have considered delaying tariffs to give Mexico time to prepare a solution, according to people familiar with the matter.
Oil has declined in six of the last seven week as the U.S. ratcheted up trade conflicts with China and Mexico, threatening prospects for the global economy and energy consumption. President Donald Trump said he will decide on enacting tariffs on another $325 billion in Chinese imports after meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Japan at the end of the month. Crude demand in countries representing about half of global use ground to a halt in March and April, according to Morgan Stanley.
“The heavy selling in the past few days may have been unwarranted so there may have been opportunistic buying coming from traders,” said Daniel Hynes, a senior commodity strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Sydney. The trade related news is “marginally positive” but markets have been “hoodwinked in the past with these slight and sudden turns so they would like to see something more concrete to be convinced that things are not getting any worse.”
West Texas Intermediate futures pared a third straight week of declines, rising 1.4% to $53.31 a barrel at 2:57 p.m. Singapore time on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures rose 91 cents to settle at $52.59 a barrel Thursday, the largest daily increase since April 22.
Brent for August settlement gained 1.4% to $62.56 a barrel in London after rising 1.7% on Thursday. It’s headed for a 3% decline for the week. The global benchmark contract is trading at a $9.11 a barrel premium to WTI.
Negotiations between U.S. and Mexico were inconclusive on Thursday as Vice President Mike Pence said he was encouraged by the progress, but that more had to be done. The U.S. still plans to impose tariffs on its neighbor starting next week, Pence added. Meanwhile, Trump signaled that talks with Beijing may get back on track, the president said in a Fox News interview. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to meet People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang over the weekend.
Supply concerns continue to linger despite a display of bonhomie between Saudi Arabian oil minister Khalid Al-Falih and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, who said the producers will “cooperate to achieve market balance.” Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared less keen, noting that his country is happy with a lower oil price as “$60-$65 a barrel suits us just fine." The producers’ cartel has yet to agree on a date to meet and decide on an extension following the expiration of output curbs this month.
OPEC “will be forced” to extend its current output cuts into the second half of the year, ANZ’s Hynes said. “I don’t know if, in the current environment, it would be enough to reverse the decline” in oil prices, he added.
--With assistance from James Thornhill.
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