Inside Financial Markets



SINGAPORE, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Brent crude held above $109 a barrel on Thursday as upbeat data from China kindled hopes for better demand from the world’s second largest oil consumer, but signs that OPEC producer Libya may resume exports dragged on prices.

Activity in China’s manufacturing sector hit a four-month high in August as new orders rebounded, a preliminary survey showed. This added to promising reports for July ranging from factory output, exports to retail sales, reinforcing signs of stabilisation in the world’s No.2 economy. (Full Story)

“This is a good sign. Commodity prices should bounce from these levels,” ANZ analyst Natalie Rampono said, but added that prices would be pressured if an expected roll back in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s stimulus next month comes to pass.

“We’re expecting a 70 percent chance for the Fed to start tapering in September,” Rampono said. “That should have a negative impact, in particular, on U.S. crude.” (Full Story)

Brent crude  LCOc1 edged down 21 cents to $109.60 a barrel by 0506 GMT. U.S. crude  CLc1 was unchanged at $103.85, after dropping by as much as 32 cents earlier in the session.

Losses in the U.S. benchmark were partly driven by signs that companies were diverting oil to the depleted Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub for the first time in 12 months. The Brent-WTI spread  CL-LCO1=R widened to more than $6 for the first time since June on Wednesday. (Full Story) (Full Story)


Oil’s support from geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Africa has eased just a touch, Rampono pointed out.

Libya’s Marsa al Brega port, which local sources said reopened on Tuesday, may handle oil cargoes in the next few days, a shipping source close to the trade said.

But the worst disruption to Libya’s oil sector since the civil war of 2011 continued, with the largest terminals, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, still blocked by protesters for nearly four weeks. (Full Story)

A political crisis in Egypt has also stoked supply worries as the country is home to the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline, which together carry around 4.5 million barrels per day of oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

The Egyptian army has said it will guarantee the safety of the canal and pipeline but any disruption could have a major impact on oil prices.

For now, prices are not expected to see much of an upside from the geopolitical worries, Rampono said.

“Markets have factored in production cuts from Libya and there’s no issue of exports disruption at the Suez Canal.”


Sanie Khan

Sanie Khan holds a deep knowledge of the financial markets in Pakistan. Based in Karachi, he has over 20 years of hands-on management experience in financial technologies and managing operations in the financial sector. He was the General Manager at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) for 17 years. He along-with senior members of Exchange

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Inside Financial Markets was a joint publication of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX)and Society of Technical Analysts Pakistan (STAP)