24 January 2014 11:23 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--ICE Brent crude oil futures weakened by more than $1.00/bbl on Friday, pressured by weaker Asian stock indices and the Bank of England's decision to keep interest rates steady despite falling national unemployment levels.?xml:namespace>
By 11:03 GMT, the front-month March ICE Brent contract touched an intra-day low at $106.23/bbl, a loss of $1.35/bbl compared to the previous settlement. The contract then edged higher to trade around $106.55/bbl.
At the same time, the front-month March WTI contract was trading around $96.75/bbl, having touched an intra-day low earlier at $96.60/bbl, a loss of 72 cents/bbl compared to the close on Thursday.
Most stock indices in the Asia Pacific region settled in negative territory on Friday, including Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index. However China’s Shanghai Composite Index had made some minor gains by the close.
The weakness in the Asia Pacific was carried over to Europe, where UK’s FTSE 100, France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s Dax were all trading below their previous settlements.
Employment in the UK has increased much faster than anticipated and the country's unemployment rate is approaching 7%, the level at which Bank of England Governor Mark Carney had previously indicated would be the threshold to begin considering interest rate hikes.
However, despite the fact that the rate has fallen to 7.1%, Carney said there is no immediate need to raise borrowing costs, which has attracted some criticism over Bank of England’s forward guidance.
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