Oil Resumes Drop With Demand Uncertainty Keeping Investors Wary

Date: Wed , 23 September 2020

Authors: Saket Sundria and James Thornhill

Date: Wed, 23 September 2020

Source: Yahoo Finance


Oil continues to decline even as concerns for a resurgent coronavirus will lead to more demand-sapping restrictions. An industry report painted a mixed picture of the supply situation in the U.S.


In New York, oil futures for November delivery dropped toward $39 a barrel after rising 0.7% Tuesday. The American Petroleum Institute reported crude stockpiles increased by nearly 700,000 barrels last week, while gasoline inventories shrunk by 7.7 million barrels, according to people familiar.


With the coronavirus infections on the rise again some European countries -- including the U.K. and France – and the U.S. death toll topped 200,000, the recovery in the American economy remains highly uncertain and will need further support, said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday.


Oil prices are now back in the range as they were in during the northern-hemisphere summer, recovering slightly from the sharp drop from earlier this month. With the demand outlook deteriorating in recent weeks, attention is now turning to the OPEC+ alliance and whether it will try to cut output to defend the market.


“Oil is totally in uncharted territory,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp Ltd. In the absence of a vaccine, the oil demand recovery has run its course and the resurgence of Covid-19 is worrying, but governments will be reluctant to impose full lockdowns again, he said.


The recent sell-off is likely to have put OPEC+ on guard, and Saudi Arabia has been pushing hard to increase compliance with agreed production quotas, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note dated Sept. 18. Oil prices will probably stay range-bound in the mid-$40s until distillate demand recovers, it said.


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