Oil prices fell on Wednesday ahead of the latest US weekly inventories data, while gold remained range-bound and base metals prices retreated as commodity markets continued to look for impetus from the US dollar and equities.
Olivier Jakob, head of Swiss-based oil consultancy Petromatrix, said extremely high levels of inter-asset correlation meant that no market was trading entirely on its own fundamentals.
“The problem remains that when asset classes that are supposed to act somewhat independently trade [with] such a strong correlation, we come to a situation where no single market knows exactly what it is pricing,” said Mr Jakob.
Oil prices dipped on Monday after hitting their highest levels of the year last week but base metals rose and US agricultural commodities extended their recent gains as markets made a mixed start to the new trading week.
Nymex December West Texas Intermediate dipped 30 cents to $80.20 a barrel while ICE December Brent lost 18 cents at $78.74 a barrel.
US crude oil hit $82 a barrel last week, a high for 2009 and up 83.8 per cent since the start of the year, fuelling concerns that rising oil prices could hinder global economic recovery.
“A spike in oil prices above $100 a barrel could create significant headwinds for the global economy,” said Francisco Blanch, head of global commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Mr Blanch said the combination of surging money supply, a rapidly weakening US dollar and a cyclical improvement in oil demand could push oil prices above $100 a barrel moving into 2011.
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Crude oil prices fell by more than $1 a barrel on Thursday after reaching a fresh 2009 high in the previous session while gold softened and base metals moved lower as commodity markets continued to take their lead from fluctuations in the US dollar.
Nymex December West Texas Intermediate fell $1.20 to $80.17 after hitting $82.00 in the previous session, a high for 2009.
ICE December Brent lost $1.12 at $78.57.
US inventories data released on Wednesday showed an increase of 1.3m barrels in crude stocks last week, below the consensus forecast for a 1.8m barrel rise.
Oil prices fell while base metals softened and gold consolidated as commodity markets traded cautiously on Wednesday.
Nymex December West Texas Intermediate fell $1 to $78.12 a barrel while ICE December Brent lost 74 cents at $76.50 a barrel.
US inventories data, due out later in the session, were expected to show an increase of 1.8m barrels in crude stocks last week, according to a poll of analysts by Reuters.
Almost one fifth of US refining capacity has been lying idle because of poor profit margins and weak demand from consumers for petrol and heating oil.
US crude oil prices breached the $80 a barrel mark on Tuesday, reaching a fresh 2009 high, while gold rose as further weakness in the US dollar provided support for sentiment towards commodities.
Nymex November West Texas Intermediate reached a fresh 2009 high of $80.05 a barrel before easing back to trade 38 cents lower at $79.23.
The November contract expires at the end of Tuesday’s session and December WTI, the benchmark from Wednesday, slipped 33 cents to $79.63 after hitting $80.40.
Positioning in the options market provided a gravitational pull on WTI as a large number of “call” options – providing the right to buy crude oil at a predetermined price – were outstanding at the $80 mark.
Once the spot oil price moved near to that level, the sellers of the call options were forced to buy futures to cover their positions.
Olivier Jakob, head of Swiss-based oil consultancy Petromatrix, said that the outstanding call options “could accelerate prices and put fundamentals considerations to the side.”
US crude oil pushed above the $78 a barrel mark on Friday, reaching a fresh 2009 peak.
Nymex November West Texas Intermediate reached $78.17 a barrel before easing back to trade at $77.46.
ICE December Brent lost 30 cents at $75.94 a barrel.
Crude oil prices rose on Monday with Nymex November West Texas Intermediate up $1.02 to $72.79 a barrel while ICE November Brent crude moved $1.07 higher to $71.07 a barrel.
On Friday, the International Energy Agency warned that rising commodity prices, notably oil, could still “easily derail” global economic recovery.
The energy watchdog of the developed world upgraded its consumption forecasts for 2009 and 2010 by 200,000b/d and 350,000b/d respectively.
Global oil demand is expected to average 84.6m b/d in 2009, down 1.9 per cent on the previous year. In 2010, demand is expected to reach 86.1m b/d, up 1.7 per cent on this year.
Oil prices fell on Monday while base metals were mixed as commodity markets made a hesitant start to the new trading week amid concerns about the global economy’s recovery prospects.
Crude oil prices extended Friday’s fall with Nymex November West Texas Intermediate down 38 cents to $69.57 a barrel, while ICE November Brent lost 40 at $67.67 a barrel.
Francisco Blanch, head of global commodities research, at Bank of America Merrill Lynch says crude prices could spike well above the $100 a barrel level entering 2011 without firm policy action to reduce global oil demand.
Mr Blanch said oil prices were the rope in a tug of war between the US and Asia over energy supplies which could put recovery in the global economy at risk as early as the second half of next year.
Crude oil prices dipped after rising by more than $3 a barrel in the previous session, following the latest US inventories data.
Nymex November West Texas Intermediate fell 61 cents to $70.00 a barrel and ICE November Brent lost 50 cents at $68.57 a barrel.
Crude oil prices rose by more than $1 a barrel on Wednesday ahead of the latest US inventories data while gold regained the $1,000 level and base metals staged a broad advance as sentiment towards commodity markets found support from renewed dollar weakness.