Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Khaleej Times - Oil hits $68 on Libya force majeure despite pandemic surge
Vijay Valecha , Special to Khaleej Times April 20, 2021
Oil on Tuesday hit one-month high and crossed $68 a barrel despite rising coronavirus cases in Asia as disruption in Libyan exports, decline in the US dollar value and a possible decline in US crude inventories supported the upward price trend.
Brent crude climbed 64 cents, or one per cent, at $67.69 a barrel by 1004GMT after hitting its highest since March 18 at $68.08. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 60 cents, or one per cent, to $63.98.
Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) declared force majeure on Monday on exports from the port of Hariga and said it could extend the measure to other facilities due to a budget dispute with the country’s central bank. Hariga is scheduled to load about 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) in April.
Analysts and energy experts said oil was underpinned by a weak US dollar, which makes oil cheaper for buyers using other currencies. In a research note, ING Economics said the US dollar weakness continues to offer support to the commodities complex.
Worldwide coronavirus cases have exceeded 141.7 million and a surge in infections in India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer, has dampened optimism for a sustained demand recovery.
Gold eases off seven-week peak
Meanwhile, gold prices dropped after hitting a seven-week high in the previous session, as a rebound in US Treasury yields eclipsed support from a weaker dollar.
Spot gold was down 0.1 per cent at $1,768.01 per ounce by 0711GMT, after hitting $1,789.77 on Monday, its highest since February 25. US gold futures eased 0.1 per cent to $1,769 per ounce.
Gold is seen as a hedge against inflation that could follow stimulus measures, but higher Treasury yields have dulled some of the appeal of the non-yielding commodity this year.
“Spot gold may slide more into a range of $1,744 to $1,758 per ounce, following its failure to break a resistance at $1,785,” according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Moreover, silver rose 0.3 per cent to $25.88 per ounce, palladium dropped 0.3 per cent to $2,803.69 and platinum was steady at $1,205.20.