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Commodities

Oil settles down ahead of OPEC+ meeting, posts weekly loss

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By Nicole Jao

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Oil prices fell on Friday and posted a weekly loss as investors awaited an OPEC+ meeting on Sunday that will determine the fate of the producer group’s output cuts.

futures for July delivery were down 24 cents, or 0.3%, to $81.62 a barrel, while the more liquid August contract was down 77 cents, or 0.8%, at $81.11. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 92 cents, or 1.2%, at $76.99.

For the week, Brent settled down 0.6%, with WTI posted a 1% loss.

“It’s the trepidation ahead of the OPEC meeting over the weekend,” said Matt Smith, lead analyst at Kpler, referencing the potential for the group to do something unexpected. “It’s widely expected that they’ll roll over the cuts,” he added.

Markets are awaiting the OPEC+ meeting on Sunday, with the producer group working on a complex deal that would allow it to extend some of its deep oil production cuts into 2025, sources told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia invited ministers to gather in person in Riyadt for the June meeting in a last minute change of plans, sources said on Friday. The gathering is still officially scheduled as an online meeting.

production rose in March to its highest level this year, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Friday, while fuel product supplied, a proxy for demand, fell 0.4% to 19.9 million barrels per day.

The oil market has been under pressure in recent weeks over the prospect of U.S. borrowing costs staying higher for longer, which ties down funds and can curb oil demand.

Both oil benchmarks were on course for their biggest monthly declines since December after dropping in the previous session on a surprise build in U.S. fuel inventories.

“U.S. summer travel season kicked off with Memorial Day weekend, with initial indications showing strong driving and flying activity — but fuel use looks more muted, implying efficiency gains,” Citi analysts wrote in a note.

Oil prices rose briefly after U.S. government data showed inflation tracked sideways in April, strengthening traders’ bets that the Fed would deliver a long-awaited rate cut in September.

Euro zone inflation rose more than expected in May, Eurostat data showed. The increase is unlikely to deter the European Central Bank from cutting borrowing costs next week, but it could slow the rate cutting cycle.

U.S. energy firms held oil and gas rig count – an early indicator of future output – steady at 600 in the week to May 31, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in its closely followed report on Friday.

Oil rigs fell by one to 496 this week, while gas rigs rose by one to 100.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oil pump jacks are seen at the Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas deposit in the Patagonian province of Neuquen, Argentina, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

However, the total rig count fell for the third month in a row in May, dropping by 13, the most in a month since August.​

Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to May 28, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

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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