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Brent hovers around $100 as global economy worries cap gains

* Action needed to boost confidence in global economy, IMF says

* G20 backs off austerity drive, rejects hard debt cut targets

* Hedge funds, speculators cut net long U.S. crude positions – CFTC

* Coming up: Euro zone consumer confidence for April; 1400 GMT

By Florence Tan

SINGAPORE, April 22 (Reuters) – Brent crude hovered around $100 a barrel on Monday, finding some support from bargain hunters after three straight weeks of lower prices on worries about the world economy and the impact on fuel demand.

Brent has lost 10 percent since the start of April as growth in the United States and China — the world’s two largest oil consumers — slowed, while recession in Europe deepened.

Expectations of weaker demand growth have also hit other commodities, leading to a 1.4 percent fall in the bellwether Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index last week.

June Brent crude rose 28 cents to $99.93 a barrel by 0223 GMT, bouncing from the lowest level since July 2012 on Wednesday. U.S. crude for June delivery was up 29 cents to $88.30 a barrel after a 3.6 percent loss last week.

“We have seen quite a bit of bargain hunting in commodities, particularly gold and less to an extent for oil,” said Ric Spooner, chief markets analyst at CMC Global Markets in Sydney.

“We’ve a long way to really suggest that we’re looking at anything more than a bounce,” he said.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude would have to rally past $107 and $91.60 a barrel, respectively, to suggest a major change in sentiment, he added.

“We’re in a market where there’s plenty of supply capacity and a very modest growth outlook that risks downside towards $80 for WTI,” Spooner said.

Technical charts showed that Brent may revisit its April 16 low of $98 a barrel, after it failed to rise past a resistance at $100.47, while U.S. crude could fall to $86.82, Reuters markets analyst Wang Tao said.

Hedge funds and other large speculators cut their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to April 16, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said.

Brent’s fall below $100 prompted comments from oil hawks Iran and Venezuela on Thursday that OPEC could call for an emergency meeting ahead of one scheduled on May 31, although there is no indication of such a meeting yet.

Worries over a sluggish world recovery persisted with finance leaders of G20 economies edging away from a long-running drive toward government austerity in rich nations, rejecting the idea of setting hard targets to cut national debt.

Global finance officials on Saturday also urged countries to take other steps to reinvigorate growth and create jobs as monetary policy alone was not enough to restore confidence in the shaky global economy.

Investors will scour data from China and the United States this week for growth cues. The HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index for April will be released on Tuesday while the United States will announce first-quarter GDP growth on Friday.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the U.S. economy to have expanded at a 3.0 percent clip, up from 0.4 percent in the last three months of 2012. Yet, a pair of unexpectedly soft regional Federal Reserve surveys last week reinforced the view that yet another Spring slowdown – the fourth in as many years – is unfolding in the United States. (Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Richard Pullin)


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