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Oil Prices Start The Week Lower As Bearish Sentiment Builds

Crude oil prices fell earlier today, starting the week with a decline on expectations of another rate hike by the Fed that combined with weaker-than-expected economic data from China to erase previous gains.

In morning trade in Asia Brent crude had fallen below $80, with West Texas Intermediate was down to a little over $76 per barrel. Both declines, however, were moderate, continuing a losing streak that began last week.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to announce a 25-basis-point rate hike later this week as it continues to try and tame inflation that left consumer spending in the U.S. flat in March, with spending on goods down, although spending on services rose.

In news from China, the country’s purchasing managers’ index for March fell to 49.2 from 51.9 in March, sparking worry about the Asian powerhouse’s recovery. A reading of 50 separates growth from contraction.

"Investors remain cautious amid mixed economic signals. Brent crude has been tracking broader markets in recent sessions, with a slew of economic data creating more uncertainty about the outlook," ANZ analysts said in a note quoted by Reuters.

“Oil markets have completely faded the boost from the surprise OPEC+ cut earlier this month, and we think this primarily reflects deep pessimism about the macro outlook, with little evidence of incremental weakness in demand so far,” Barclays said last week.

The bank’s analysts, however, cautioned against underestimating OPEC+’s resolve to keep a tight grip on oil supply, suggesting that despite the recent slide, prices could yet live up to earlier forecasts that saw Brent breaching $100 again before this year’s end.

For now, however, pessimism about economic growth appears to have gained the upper hand among oil traders, keeping a lid on prices and reversing the gains oil made at the end of last week on another strong round of Big Oil quarterly results.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on May 01 2023 said:
    US Banking System never better with only major collapse(s) hardly surprising being Credit Suisse and DB Deutsch Bank(ongoing.) Hard to argue for outright deflation in the USA but the US Dollar still remains now more than ever the World's Global Reserve with Bitcoin getting absolutely obliterated today.

    Metals markets excepting steel #oddly have been in a massive bear market going on many Years now. Short gold strong sell. Might start seeing dirt cheap silver flood the USA suddenly as well. Long Made in Japan Toyota 4Runners strong buy
  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 01 2023 said:
    Oil prices could be expected to remain under pressure as long as fears of a global banking or financial crisis persist. Not even Chin’s most bullish factor could cope with another crisis.

    Once fears have subsided, prices will recoup all their recent losses and resume their surge.

    The problem is that there is something structurally wrong in both the US banking and financial systems resulting probably from the United States printing trillions of dollars to offset federal fiscal deficits. Until these systems are addressed, fears of a crisis will recur.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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