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Commodities

Oil prices dip on US interest rate jitters, Middle East uncertainty

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Investing.com– Oil prices fell Tuesday on concerns high U.S. interest rates will eat into demand this year, amid continued uncertainty in the Middle East. 

At 08:15 ET (12:15 GMT),  fell 1.8% to $82.17 a barrel, while fell 1.9% to $77.77 a barrel. 

US rate fears cloud demand outlook 

Fears of high-for-longer U.S. rates were a key point of pressure for crude markets, after a string of Fed officials warned of such a scenario amid sticky inflation.

Vice Chair Philip Jefferson said on Monday that it was too early to tell if the slowdown is “long lasting,” and Vice Chair Michael Barr noted that restrictive policy needs more time, dulling hopes for early cuts.

There are more Fed speakers to digest Tuesday, including Barr once more, as well as FOMC members Thomas Barkin, John Williams and Raphael Bostic, ahead of the release of the  of the Fed’s late-April meeting on Wednesday.

High rates are expected to dull activity in the largest economy in the world, likely hitting crude demand, while also limiting money for investment and economic growth, which usually support oil demand. 

The International Energy Agency last week trimmed its outlook for crude demand this year, citing concerns over weaker economic conditions due to pressure from interest rates. 

On the flip side, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its demand forecast, citing strength in top exporter China. 

China has been a point of confidence for oil demand, especially as Beijing rolled out a string of stimulus measures in recent weeks to support growth. 

Political uncertainty in Middle East

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who was seen as a successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was killed in a helicopter crash over the weekend, while there are concerns over the health of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz after Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman deferred a trip to Japan.

While these events have not had an impact on supplies yet, they have created a degree of political uncertainty in two major oil-producing countries.

OPEC meeting awaited for more cues

Oil markets were also awaiting an in June, where the cartel, along with its allies including Russia, will discuss output policy, including whether to extend the voluntary supply cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day from mainly Saudi Arabia.

The group, known as OPEC+, could well extend some voluntary cuts past their initial June-end deadline if demand fails to pick up.

“As the market waits for clarity from OPEC+ on its output policy for the second half of the year, there are some signs of weakness in the market,” said analysts at ING, in a note.

“Refinery margins have been trending lower for some time, raising the prospect of cuts in refinery runs, particularly in Asia. In addition, the physical crude market is also weaker.” 

(Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

Commodities

BofA: Gold could hit $3,000/oz over the next 12-18 months

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Bank of America analysts predict a potential surge in gold prices, with estimates reaching $3,000 per ounce within the next 12-18 months. However, they acknowledge current market flows don’t necessarily support this price point.

BofA explains that reaching $3,000 hinges on increased non-commercial demand. They believe a Federal Reserve rate cut could trigger this, leading to inflows into physically backed gold ETFs and higher trading volumes.

Central bank purchases are another key factor. “Ongoing central bank purchases are also important, and a push to reduce the share of USD in foreign exchange portfolios will likely prompt more central bank gold buying,” BofA says.

This shift is driven by gold’s status as a long-term value store, hedge against inflation, and effective portfolio diversifier.

BofA’s model considers various factors, including mine output, recycled gold, and jewelry demand. However, to estimate a balanced market price, they also need to factor in investment demand. Currently, non-commercial purchases support an average price of $2,200 per ounce year-to-date. A significant increase could push prices towards $3,000.

The report highlights a recent World Gold Council survey indicating central banks’ intention to purchase more gold. This aligns with the growing concerns around US Treasury market fragility, potentially prompting further diversification into gold by both central banks and private investors.

While a Treasury market breakdown isn’t BofA’s base case, they acknowledge it as a potential risk. “Under this scenario, gold may fall initially on broad liquidations but should then gain,” they conclude.

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Commodities

Oil edges higher as demand expectations offset dollar strength

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By Paul Carsten

LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices firmed slightly on Monday as traders weighed support from expected summer demand and geopolitical tensions against a stronger dollar.

futures were up 22 cents, or 0.3%, at $85.46 a barrel by 1053 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.2%, at $80.92. Both benchmarks gained about 3% last week for their second consecutive weekly gains.

“The chief underlying reason behind the price strength … is the growing confidence that global oil inventories will inevitably plunge during the summer in the northern hemisphere,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM, referring to seasonal demand for oil products.

Geopolitical risks in the Middle East and a ramp-up in Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian refineries are also underpinning oil prices.

EU countries on Monday agreed a new package of sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine, including a ban on reloading Russian liquefied (LNG) in the EU for further shipment to third countries.

However, a strengthening U.S. currency has made dollar-denominated commodities less attractive for holders of other currencies.

“The U.S. dollar … appears to have broken higher following better U.S. PMI data on Friday night and political concerns ahead of the French election,” said IG analyst Tony Sycamore.

The , measuring performance against six major currencies, climbed on Friday and was up slightly on Monday after data showed U.S. business activity at a 26-month high in June.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, U.S., March 11, 2022. Picture taken March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

In Ecuador, state oil company Petroecuador has declared force majeure on deliveries of Napo heavy crude for export after the shutdown of a key pipeline and oil wells owing to heavy rain, sources said on Friday.

In the United States, the number of operating oil rigs fell by three to 485 last week, the lowest since January 2022, Baker Hughes said in a report on Friday.

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Commodities

Gold prices creep higher; strong dollar, inflation jitters weigh

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Investing.com– Gold prices rose slightly in Asian trade on Monday but remained within a tight trading range amid pressure from a stronger dollar, and as traders positioned for key U.S. inflation data this week. 

The yellow metal has hovered largely around the low $2,300 an ounce level for about two weeks, as uncertainty over U.S. interest rates kept traders averse to the yellow metal. 

rose 0.2% to $2,325.52 an ounce, while expiring in August rose 0.3% to $2,337.85 an ounce by 00:04 ET (04:04 GMT). 

Gold pressured by strong dollar, PCE data awaited 

Gold prices were pressured chiefly by strength in the , as the greenback hovered around its strongest levels since early-May. 

Strength in the dollar came as traders priced out expectations of interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, especially after strong purchasing managers index data on Friday.

The reading pushed up fears that strength in the U.S. economy will give the Fed more headroom to keep rates high for longer.

Focus now turns largely to upcoming data, due on Friday. The reading is the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, and is likely to factor into expectations for interest rate cuts. 

The PCE data is expected to show some cooling in inflation, but is expected to remain well above the Fed’s 2% annual target. 

The prospect of high for long interest rates bodes poorly for precious metals, given that it increases the opportunity cost of investing in non-yielding assets. 

Other precious metals retreated on Monday after remaining largely rangebound in recent weeks. fell 0.3% to $1,005.10 an ounce, while fell 0.2% to $29.895 an ounce.

Copper prices muted amid dollar strength, China jitters 

Strength in the dollar also weighed on industrial metal prices, with copper also coming under pressure from fears of  a trade war between China and the European Union.

Benchmark on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.1% to $9,677.50 a tonne, while one-month steadied at $4.4205 a pound.

Sentiment towards China, the world’s biggest copper importer, was battered after the EU imposed tariffs on Chinese imports of electric vehicles. The move drew ire from Beijing, with Chinese officials raising the possibility of retaliatory tariffs and a potential trade war between the two economic giants.

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