US crude falls $2.84/bbl on stock market sell off, dollar rally

20 June 2013 20:50  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--July West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures fell sharply in NYMEX trading on Thursday in response to a global sell off in stocks and a strengthening dollar.

Markets from Tokyo to London to New York declined sharply after the US Federal Reserve said that it may consider ending its $85bn/month (€64bn/month) bond-buying programme, known as Quantitative Easing 2 (QE2).

Crude futures were also weakened by a stronger dollar and poor economic indicators out of Europe and Asia.

July WTI futures, which went off the board at the close of trading, fell by $2.84/bbl, or nearly 3%, to close at $95.40. August WTI futures fell by $3.34 to $95.14. ICE Brent for August delivery established an intra-day low of $102.03/bbl and settled at $102.15/bbl, down $3.97.

Futures dropped sharply right from the opening, with WTI July contracts falling by almost $3 within the first half hour of trading. The market staged a small rally at midday, taking prices back up to $95.45 and then dropped below $3 again before pushing prices higher again on perceived profit-taking.

Crude prices were also pushed lower by news that June factory output in China fell to a nine-month low and US manufacturing posted its worst quarter in the past year. Investors also remain concerned about the struggling European economies.

With the dollar rallying against a basket of currencies, the sell off extended across the energy complex and across various commodities.

The big mover of all markets, analysts said, was the news from the Fed. The net effect of the economic stimulus programme has been a weaker dollar, which has pushed investors to seek better returns in the commodities and stock markets. If the government eases QE2, bond prices are expected to fall, which will make yields rise and make bonds a more attractive investment. That, some analysts expect, will cause investors to get out of commodities and back into Treasurys.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Mark Yost
+1 713 525 2653

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