Oil, equities slip as OPEC+ cut fails to lift confidence

Reuters TOKYO | Updated on April 13, 2020

Oil prices and US stock futures dipped in early Monday trade as a landmark agreement by OPEC and its allies to slash output by a record amount failed to give investors any cause for lasting optimism about the economic outlook.

US S&P 500 mini futures dropped 1.54 per cent, erasing a brief gain to a one-month high made right after the start of trading.

Nikkei futures traded in Chicago suggest Tokyo's benchmark is likely to slip about 0.2 per cent.

US crude futures dropped to $22.67 per barrel, down 0.4 per cent as they quickly erased earlier gains to hit the lowest level since April 2.

Brent futures were down 0.67 per cent at $31.27 per barrel, having risen to $33.99.

A group of oil producing countries known as OPEC+, which includes Russia, said it had agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for May-June, after four days of marathon talks.

A bigger question for investors, however, is whether the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged global economic growth, will soon peak in the United States and Europe, as had been hoped.

“While panic selling we saw last month has faded, not many investors would want to chase stock prices higher given we are about to see more evidence of economic downturns,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

OPEC+ said in a draft statement seen by Reuters it expected total global oil cuts to amount to more than 20 million bpd, or 20 per cent of global supply, effective May 1.

That includes contributions from non-members, steeper voluntary cuts by some OPEC+ members and strategic purchases by the world's largest consumers, sources said.

Still, that falls short of completely offsetting an estimated 30 million bpd drop in worldwide fuel consumption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the short term, the WTI may hold above $20 after the deal but it could fall below that level unless all the countries follow up their words with actions,” said Tatsufumi Okoshi, senior economist at Nomura Securities.

Also in focus this week, US companies announce their earnings, starting from big banks, and China releases its trade data on Tuesday and closely watched gross domestic product data on Friday.

In foreign exchange markets, risk-sensitive currencies were softer while the safe-haven dollar and the yen found support.

The Australian dollar fell 0.3 per cent to $0.6303 while the Mexican peso dropped 0.4 per cent to 23.430 per dollar.

The euro stood flat at $1.0934 and the yen gained 0.15 per cent to 108.34 to the dollar.

Published on April 13, 2020

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