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Oil extends losses after dollar rises on shifting interest rate outlook

oil 11

Oil prices fell on Monday, extending losses from the previous session after the dollar rose on market views that higher-than-expected inflation could delay cuts to high US interest rates that have been capping global fuel demand growth.

Brent crude futures fell 14 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $81.48 a barrel by 0656 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) declined 22 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $76.27 a barrel as the US dollar (.DXY) strengthened. A stronger dollar makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

The dip built on losses last week, when Brent declined about 2 per cent and WTI fell more than 3 per cent as markets pushed out the start of US interest rate cuts by two months due to an uptick in inflation.

“The risk-on sentiment seems to be in a retreat after the Nvidia-led market rally last week as higher-for-longer rate expectations lifted the US dollar, pressuring commodity prices,” Auckland-based independent analyst Tina Teng said.

Oil prices have been trading between $70 and $90 a barrel since November, as rising supply in the US and concerns of weak demand in China offset OPEC+ supply cuts despite two wars raging.

“Crude oil prices declined for want of fresh drivers,” ANZ analysts wrote in a note. “Oil has been caught between bullish factors such as lower OPEC output and elevated geopolitical risks and bearish concerns about weak demand in China.”

As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues in the Middle East, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that negotiators for the United States, Egypt, Qatar and Israel had agreed on the basic contours of a hostage deal during talks in Paris but are still in negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was not clear yet whether a deal would materialise.

The geopolitical risk premium from Yemeni Houthis’ attacks on ships in the Red Sea remained modest at only a $2 a barrel boost to Brent, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note.

However, the bank has raised its summer peak price to $87 a barrel, up from $85, as Red Sea disruptions have driven larger-than-expected draws in stocks held by countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Goldman Sachs still expects oil demand to grow by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2024 but has cut China’s forecast while raising that for the US and India.

Separately, investors are keeping an eye on the impact on Russian oil supply after the United Staes sanctioned Moscow’s leading tanker group Sovcomflot (FLOT.MM) on Friday.

Adding to global energy supplies, Qatar will further raise liquefied natural gas production despite a recent steep drop in global prices.

In the US, the ANZ analysts anticipated oil stockpiles could start to fall in the coming weeks as refineries return from maintenance, which could offer some support to prices.

US energy firms this week added the most oil rigs since November, and the most in a month since October 2022, energy services firm Baker Hughes (BKR.O) said.

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