Crude Oil Extends Bullish Bias Amid Weaker Dollar – All Eyes on NFP Figures!
Arslan Butt • 3 min read
During Friday’s Asian trading session, WTI Crude Oil managed to extend its winning streak of the previous day, hitting a 14-month high well above the mid-$ 64.00 level, mainly after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) indicated their agreement not to increase the oil supply in April, as they await a more substantial recovery in demand from the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and the coronavirus vaccine news also helped the crude oil prices to stay bid.
The reason for the bullish bias surrounding the crude oil prices could also be attributed to the signs of a resurgence in demand, especially in Asia. On a different page, the number of cases of the COVID-19 variant in New Zealand has urged the authorities to extended restrictive measures such as lockdowns, and this has become a critical factor that has kept a lid on any additional gains in the crude oil prices. Besides this, the broad-based strength of the US dollar was also seen as one of the key factors that is capping any upside momentum for crude oil, as oil prices typically drop when the US dollar rises, as a stronger greenback makes oil more expensive for bulls with other currencies. At the time of writing, WTI Crude Oil was trading at 64.34, and consolidating in the range between 63.83 and 64.53.
As already mentioned, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) have decided not to increase the oil supply in April, as they await a stronger recovery in demand after the coronavirus-induced slump. Meanwhile, one of the top oil exporters, Saudi Arabia, also promised to maintain its voluntary production cut of 1 million barrels a day, with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman continuing to urge caution. He clarified that erring on the side of caution would be better than a badly timed supply increase.
However, the market trading sentiment failed to stop its bearish performance of the previous day, remaining sour on the day, even after the solid progress in terms of US President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in the Senate. It is worth recalling that US President Joe Biden said that the United States would have enough COVID-19 vaccines for every adult in the US by the end of May. In the meantime, the optimism over the potential vaccine/treatment for the highly infectious coronavirus failed to lend any meaningful support to the market trading mood.
Apart from this, the bullish bias surrounding the crude oil prices could also be attributed to the signs of a resurgence in demand, especially in Asia. As per the latest report, the Dragon Nation has reported that gasoline and diesel consumption keep increasing above pre-COVID-19 levels in 2021. Factory activity returned faster than expected, and an infrastructure-building program was also stimulated immediately after February’s Lunar New Year holiday. This, in turn, was seen as one of the key factors that underpinned the crude oil prices.
On the USD front, the broad-based US dollar managed to extend its winning streak of the previous day, taking some further bids on the day, amid a risk-off market sentiment, which increased the safe-haven demand in the market and contributed to the gains in the greenback. Apart from this, the upticks in the US dollar were further bolstered after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that the strong sell-off in Treasuries last week was significant and that it had caught his attention, but it was not “disorderly” or likely to push long-term rates so high that the Fed might have to intervene more forcefully. He repeated his commitment to maintaining an ultra-easy monetary policy until the US economy is “very far along the road to recovery.” However, the upticks in the US dollar were seen as one of the key factors that kept a lid on any additional gains in the crude oil prices, as the price of oil is inversely related to the price of the US dollar. Early in the Asian session, the dollar index was little changed at 91.660, after having gained 0.7%.
Moving ahead, the market traders will keep their eyes on the US Non-Farm Employment Change, along with the Unemployment Rate, which is due for release later in the day. In the meantime, the chatter surrounding the US stimulus bill will also be closely observed. Good luck!