Oil Retreats With Equities as Rally to Bull Market Seen Overdone
(Bloomberg) -- Oil extended its retreat as disappointing economic data from China helped reignite concerns over economic growth.
Futures lost 2.1 percent in New York on Monday, after falling Friday for the first time since late December. The decline mirrored a slide in equities across the globe as China posted its worst import and export figures since 2016 and the U.S. government shutdown dragged on.
“Oil is watching the other markets and following,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group Inc. in Chicago. “We got this weak Chinese data and everything changed.”
Crude entered bull-market territory last week after swooning at the end of 2018 over fears of a worldwide supply glut. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Sunday said the OPEC+ coalition of major oil exporters is on track to shrink supplies and will do more if needed.
Yet prices are still down more than 30 percent from a four-year high in October even after the recent rally. While the boss of Italian producer Eni SpA and Oman’s oil minister see the latest rebound holding, doubts persist over demand.
“Several hurdles are casting a shadow on whether the current bout of price strength can be sustained,” said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd. in London. “The demand side of the oil coin also gives reason to doubt the staying power of the current rally.”
West Texas Intermediate for February delivery sank $1.08 to settle at $50.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent for March settlement fell $1.49 to $58.99 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after gaining 6 percent last week. The global benchmark traded at a premium of $8.19 a barrel to WTI for the same month.
Stock markets dropped around the globe on Monday. Utilities, healthcare and technology stocks led the S&P 500 Index lower. Citigroup Inc. gave investors the first look at how Wall Street banks fared during the violent market swings at the end of 2018, reporting a 21 percent plunge in revenue from fixed-income trading in the fourth quarter.
Topping the list of investor concerns is the trade friction between the world’s top two economies, which threatens to crimp global growth. China is seeking to resolve its spat with the U.S. this year, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said in an interview after three days of talks last week. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set to visit Washington for further trade discussions later this month.
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