Oil tumbles as output cut looks elusive; dollar sinks

Oil tumbles as output cut looks elusive; dollar sinks

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 28, 2016 10:09 hrs
Crude oil (Reuters image)

Oil prices tumbled on Monday on fears that producer countries may fail to agree an output cut, pressuring U.S. stocks and the dollar as traders reversed their "Trumpflation" trade as weak oil prices would reduce pressure on U.S. interest rates to rise.

That gave some relief to Asian shares, which had underperformed on worries about capital flight to higher-yielding U.S markets in the weeks since Donald Trump's Nov.8 election win.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5 percent, led by gains in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In contrast, U.S. stock futures slipped 0.3 percent after their stellar performance this month on hopes U.S. President-elect Trump's policy of fiscal spending, deregulation and protection of domestic industries will boost U.S. inflation and benefit Corporate America.

Wall Street's four main indexes all hit record highs last week, a feat last achieved in 1999.

Japan's Nikkei average, which performed even better than Wall Street shares thanks to the yen's fall, also lost its lustre, falling 0.8 percent.

Brent crude futures fell as much as 2.0 percent in Asia on top of their 3.6 percent decline on Friday on rising doubts over whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will reach an output deal. The benchmark contract last traded at $47.02 per barrel, down 0.4 percent on the day.

Saudi Arabia said on Friday it will not attend talks on Monday with non-OPEC producers to discuss supply cuts.

"Oil prices have fallen considerably on worries about the deal. That would pressure energy shares, and could hit the entire stock markets. Given their rally in recent days, it's no surprise to see some adjustment," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday that he believed the oil market would balance itself in 2017 even if producers did not intervene, and that keeping output at current levels could therefore be justified.

His comments raised worries that a preliminary agreement reached in September for OPEC to reduce output to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels per day may fall apart when OPEC ministers meet on Wednesday to finalise that deal.

OPEC also wants non-OPEC producers such as Russia to support the intervention by curbing their output.

As lower oil prices reduce inflationary pressure, they sapped momentum for a sell-off in U.S. Treasuries and a rally in the dollar, the market's favourite play since the U.S. election.

The dollar sank more than 1.5 percent against the yen to 111.50 yen, down sharply from its eight-month high of 113.90 set just on Friday.

The dollar's index against a basket of six major currencies printed at 100.66, slipping 0.8 percent on day and off its 13 1/2-year high of 102.05 touched on Thursday.

The dollar shed more than 0.5 percent against many emerging market currencies, including the Mexico peso, the biggest loser after Trump's election victory, the South African rand and the Turkish lira.

The euro gained 0.9 percent to $1.0666, extending its rebound from its near one-year low of $1.0518 touched on Thursday.

The single currency has so far shown limited reaction to the French conservatives' presidential primaries on Sunday.

Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, a socially conservative free-marketeer, won the run-off, setting up a likely showdown next year with far-right leader Marine Le Pen that the pollsters expect him to win.

Gold bounced back to $1,187.0 per ounce from Friday's low $1,171.5, which was its lowest level since early February.

The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries dropped almost 5 basis points to 2.323 percent, off its 16-month high of 2.417 percent touched on Thursday.

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