Commodities: Crude rises as US stores fall, with gold under Fed rate-hike pressure
(ShareCast News) - Crude-oil futures bucked higher on Wednesday and off three-month lows on news of a surprise draw in US stores of the black liquid, while gold bears priced the yellow metal lower ahead of the US Federal Reserve's expected interest-rate lift this evening.
At 15:20 GMT, Nymex-priced WTI crude was up 1.99% to $48.67 a barrel, and Intercontinental Exchange-traded Brent was ahead 1.83% to $51.85 a barrel.
The US Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude stores fell 237,000 barrels in the week to 10 March, against market expectations of a 3.7m barrel rise.
Late on Tuesday, American Petroleum Institute figures showed a 531,000 barrels decline in US crude supplies for the week to 10 March, counter to an anticipated rise of 3.5m barrels.
Both data sets followed on from recent large rises in US inventories, which, alongside concerns about Opec's output cap being adhered to, helped dampen crude's pricing.
Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, said oil had been buoyed by the inventory drawdowns, and Saudi Arabia's commitment to oil market stability.
"An extension of the output deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members remains in doubt but the inventory numbers and Saudi energy ministry comments have afforded oil the opportunity to stabilise," said Erlam in a statement.
"It's been quite an aggressive sell-off in oil since the start of last week and a correction is good for the market."
Meanwhile, on Comex, gold was down 0.34% to $1198.50 an ounce, with silver down 0.37% to $16.86 an ounce and copper ahead 0.72% to 265.4 cents a pound.
The yellow metal's immediate course was inevitably linked to the Fed's predicted interest-rate rise later this evening.
"The looming US interest rates hike this evening has punished gold with price stumbling back below $1200," said FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga.
"This zero-yielding metal has found itself at the mercy of rate hike expectations with a strengthening dollar fueling the downside losses," he added in a statement.
While the safe-haven metal had enjoyed some support from Brexit developments and elections in Europe, gold bears had retained dominance and pushed it lower.
"From a technical standpoint, gold is bearish on the daily charts as there have been consistently lower lows and lowers highs. Sellers may use the probable US rate increase this evening to attack gold prices lower towards $1190."
Three-month industrial metals on London Metals Exchange were mostly higher. Tin was strongly ahead, followed by muted gains in copper and zin. Aluminum was firmly lower.
Among agriculturals, Chicago Board of Trade-priced corn was up 0.41% to 363.75 cents a bushel, with wheat up 0.81% to 434 cents a bushel.
On ICE, cocoa was down 0.34% to $2051 a MT, with cotton No.2 up 1.28% to 78.14 cents a pound. Live cattle rose 0.98% to 107.95 cents a pound.