Oil prices jump on stock market rebound, FDA vaccine approval

By Sheela Tobben on 8/23/2021

(Bloomberg) --Oil in New York surged by the most since April amid a broader market rebound after the longest stretch of declines in nearly two years.

The U.S. crude benchmark climbed nearly 5% on Monday and the global benchmark Brent also advanced, rallying along with equities and other commodities. In addition to more positive sentiment in financial markets, China has made progress in containing the fast-spreading delta variant, bringing local cases down to zero. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar declined, boosting the appeal of commodities priced in the currency.

Crude is rallying “due to the recovery in commodities and the positive outlook in demand from China,” said Peter McGinn, a senior market strategist at RJ O’Brien & Associates LLC in Chicago. “There also appears to be some wanning fears that the Federal Reserve would proceed with its asset tapering,” when it meets later this week.

Oil’s scorching rally over the first half of the year has run into stiff headwinds recently, and the broader virus resurgence may prompt OPEC+ to reassess its pledge to keep boosting output each month. The group next meets on Sept. 1. The market will also be looking toward the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole symposium from Thursday -- being held virtually -- which may offer insights into how the central bank plans to taper bond purchases.

“We’ve seen quite some pressure in recent weeks with Covid dominating headlines again,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro Bank. “So that could also explain a big part of today’s support. Bargain hunting and a spillover from the positive sentiment in other asset classes.”

Prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate for October delivery gained $3.03 to $65.35 a barrel at 10:25 a.m. in New York
  • Brent for October settlement rose $3.16 to $68.34 a barrel

The delta variant has also weakened the oil futures curve. The prompt timespread for Brent was 44 cents a barrel in backwardation -- where near-dated contracts are more expensive than later-dated ones. That compares with 92 cents at the end of July. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a note that prices had “overshot timespreads to the downside, suggesting an oversold market.”

Other market news:

  • Libya needs to boost oil output by almost 40% of its current level in order to cover its spending needs and begin revamping an economy battered by war, the nation’s central bank governor said.
  • Asia is set to send excess diesel supplies to Europe and possibly to the U.S. as the virus dents demand. The price of the industrial fuel in Singapore slumped relative to that in Europe, incentivizing the flow of oil westward.
  • A fire broke out at a Petroleos Mexicanos offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a statement from the state oil company.

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