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Oil Wavers With Stronger Dollar Sapping Supply-Driven Rally

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These translations are done via Google Translate

By Andres Guerra Luz and Alex Longley

(Bloomberg) Oil erased gains as a stronger dollar weighed on a rally that technical gauges suggest is due to fade.Futures in New York slipped after earlier rising as much as 1% on Thursday, with a stronger dollar reducing the appeal of commodities priced in the currency.While prices hit one-year highs this week as OPEC+ producers pledged to clear a pandemic-driven oil surplus and global inventories decline, key technical indicators suggest crude is set to retreat. The 14-day Relative Strength Indexes for both Brent and West Texas Intermediate futures are signaling the commodity is overbought.

“There’s definitely some profit-taking, prices have been on a ripper,” said Bob Yawger, head of the futures division at Mizuho Securities. Meanwhile, “it’s never a good thing when the dollar is higher, so that could be serving as a resistance.”

WTI fades from session highs with stronger dollar weighing

Still, the setup is constructive for crude. With OPEC+ pledging to keep draining an oil surplus, inventories are dropping in China and stockpiles at a key storage hub in the U.S. are now below their five-year average. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is keeping oil pricing unchanged for its main market of Asia, defying expectations of a cut after a key OPEC+ committee expressed confidence that crude supply and demand are re-balancing. While a full-fledged demand recovery still has yet to take shape, oil consumption is poised to return to 2019 levels by the end of the year, according to Citigroup.

“At the moment we are seeing pretty good oil prices,” Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “Demand is not back where it was a year ago, but then again we see a lot of discipline also from OPEC+ and therefore the market is being held in balance quite well.”

  • West Texas Intermediate for March delivery fell 2 cents to $55.67 a barrel at 10:13 a.m. in New York
  • Brent for April settlement was unchanged at $58.46 a barrel

Money is flooding back into the market. Total holdings of WTI crude futures are now at their highest level since July 2018, surpassing levels seen during the frenzied trading of April last year.

All the while, the crude futures curve continues to indicate strength. The so-called Dec.-Red-Dec. spread, a favored trade of the world’s hedge funds, has topped $3 a barrel in recent days to reach its strongest level in a year.

Other oil-market news:
  • Shell deepened the disappointment of Big Oil’s fourth quarter, reporting net income that fell short of expectations and weak cash flow.
  • Russia’s refinery maintenance schedule for primary units, mostly crude, is listed in the following table based on data from the Energy Ministry. Russian refiners had 596,000 barrels a day of processing capacity offline as of Wednesday, compared with 617,000 barrels a day a week earlier, according to an emailed report.
  • As Rosneft PJSC and its largest foreign shareholder BP Plc join efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the specter of the Russian oil giant’s Arctic development threatens to make this task far more challenging.

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