West Texas crude has edged lower in the Thursday session, as WTI/USD stays close to the $49 level. In North American trade, WTI crude futures are trading at $48.69. Brent Crude is trading at $51.81, as the Brent premium stands at $3.11. On the release front, Building Permits fell to 1.21 million, missing the estimate of 1.26 million. The Philly Fed Manufacturing Index dropped sharply to 32.8, above the forecast of 30.2 points. On the labor front, unemployment claims ticked down to 241 thousand, beating the forecast of 245 thousand. On Friday, the US will publish the UoM Consumer Sentiment report.
WTI crude remains under pressure and continues to trade below the $50 level. WTI plunged 8.7 percent last week and dipped below the $47 level on Tuesday. This was in response to reports that Saudi Arabia has increased oil production above 10 million barrels a day, raising concerns about a global oil glut. Meanwhile, US Crude Oil Inventories finally reversed directions, posting a drawdown of 0.2 million barrels, compared to an estimate of 3.3 million. This decline comes after the indicator posted 11 surpluses in the past 12 weeks, reflective of increasing US shale production. The string of surpluses has dampened OPEC’s hopes of raising prices, as the cartel cut production levels at the beginning of January. OPEC’s cuts had raised expectations that crude would rise above $60 a barrel, but oil prices continue to lose ground in 2017.
There were no raised eyebrows when the Federal Reserve raised rates by a quarter-point on Wednesday, as the markets had priced a rate hike at over 90%. The rate hike, the second in just three months, raised the raised the benchmark lending rate to a 0.75%-1% range. What was not expected, however, was the sharp drop of the dollar against its major rivals. The markets were hoping that a red-hot US economy would propel the Fed to accelerate its pace of monetary tightening. There was disappointment as Fed Chair Janet Yellen reiterated that further rate hikes would be done gradually, pushing the dollar on Wednesday. As well, the US dollar may have lost ground due to traders and investors acting on “buy on rumor, sell on fact”. This large-scale selling of US dollars after the Fed hike has sent the US dollar broadly lower against its major rivals.
Thursday (March 16)
- 8:30 US Building Permits. Estimate 1.26M. Actual 1.21M
- 8:30 US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. Estimate 30.2. Actual 32.8
- 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 245K. Actual 241K
- 8:30 US Housing Starts. Estimate 1.26M. Actual 1.29M
- 10:00 US JOLTS Openings. Estimate 5.45M. Actual 5.63M
- 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -60B. Actual -53B
Upcoming Key Events
Friday (March 17)
- 10:00 US Preliminary UoM Consumer Sentiment. Estimate 97.1
*All release times are GMT
*Key events are in bold
WTI/USD for Thursday, March 16, 2017
WTI/USD March 16 at 12:20 EST
Open: 49.12 High: 49.61 Low: 48.59 Close: 48.69
WTI USD Technical
WTI/USD was flat in the Asian and European sessions. The pair has posted slight losses in the North American session
- 46.54 is providing support
- 52.22 is the next resistance line
- Current range: 46.54 to 52.22
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 46.54, 40.57 and 33.22
- Above: 52.22, 58.32, 65.05 and 72.99
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