Oil prices leap on EU oil ban
Oil prices leapt higher overnight as markets digested the impact of the proposed EU ban on Russian oil imports. Additionally, the OPEC+ JTC is indicating that there will be no change in the monthly schedule of production increases, with some members in fact noting that China’s demand has slumped.
Brent crude rose by 4.05% to USD 111.10 overnight, with WTI climbing by 3.90% to USD 107.55 a barrel. In Asia, Brent and WTI have had a muted session, adding just 0.50% each to USD 110.60 and USD 108.10 respectively. In the bigger picture, Brent crude is still in a broader USD 100.00 to USD 120.00 range, and WTI in a USD 95.00 to USD 115.00 range. Only a weekly close above or below those levels signals a new directional move.
Overall, we remain in a situation where the Ukraine/Russia conflict and the inability of OPEC+ to even meet their pre-agreed quotas is keeping spot prices tight, while China’s covid-zero-induced slowdown is acting to cap price increases. With the sanction situation on Russia escalating, and with Russian retaliation not out of the question, I believe the risks of the Ukraine conflict becoming more fully priced into energy markets are increasing.
Gold rallies on a weaker US dollar
Gold rose sharply overnight as the US dollar plummeted post-FOMC after the Fed hiked by 0.50% as expected, and eased concerns around future 0.75% hikes. Gold rose 0.70% to USD 1881.50 an ounce, before continuing its rally in Asia, gaining an impressive 1.10% to USD 1901.65 today.
The move in Asia is unusual, even more so because other asset classes in Asia are not showing a strong continuation of the US dollar sell-off seen overnight, although Asian currencies have rallied modestly in trading today. I suspect the buying is coming out of China as that market had returned from holidays today.
From a technical perspective, gold reclaimed the 100-day moving average at USD 1881.00 overnight, which becomes intraday support, followed by USD 1850.00 and USD 1835.00 an ounce. Gold faces resistance at USD 1920.00 and USD 1960.00 an ounce. It is too early to say that gold prices have turned a corner. If the US dollar correction lower continues, then gold can certainly continue rallying. But if the US dollar sell-off runs out of steam, then gold will struggle to maintain gains above USD 1900.00 an ounce.
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