Commodities: Crude's gains likely limited as traders begin re-focusing on Opec curbs
(ShareCast News) - Crude-oil futures continued to advance on Thursday but gains are likely limited as traders turn their attentions back to Opec production curbs.
The black liquid rose Wednesday after US Energy Information Administration data showed a less-than-expected build in stores. But, US shale production and a now chronic global glut of the precious liquid continue in play.
FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga said oil's gains may be limited as investors mull over the effectiveness of cartel Opec's supply cuts.
"As long as optimism continues to fade over Opec stabilising the saturated oil markets, bears will have many opportunities to attack prices lower," said Otunuga.
"From a technical standpoint, oil bears may exploit the technical bounce to send (WTI) oil prices back below $49."
At about 15:15 GMT, Nymex-priced WTI crude was up 0.63% to $49.82 a barrel. Intercontinental Exchange-traded Brent was ahead 0.17% to $52.51 a barrel.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said the loss of Libyan output due to geopolitical concerns along with a decline in Iraqi output in line with Opec production caps had "helped underpin prices in the short term".
He said WTI continued to remain below the psychologically important $50 a barrel level, while Mike van Dulken and Henry Croft, both analysts at Accendo Markets, said that grade of crude was looking to regain a $50 per barrel handle for the first time since 16 March.
Turning to Brent, Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, wondered, given how little it had taken to trigger a 2% swing higher, whether a temporary bottom had been established.
"The next test (for Brent) comes around $52.65, with a break above this potentially triggering a move back towards $55," he added.
Meanwhile, on Comex, gold was down 0.43% to $1251.40 an ounce, with silver down 0.12% to $18.23 an ounce and copper up 0.22% to 268.35 cents a pound.
Van Dulken and Croft said gold's retracement from Monday's March highs had extended overnight as the US dollar rebound from 4-month lows continues.
"However, the precious metal may be relieved of some pressure as the US Dollar index approaches resistance, while the ECB looking to ease hawkish fears may help to increase appetite for the non-yielding safe haven asset."
Three-month industrial metals on London Metals Exchange were all firmly ahead. Zinc gained 1.24%, aluminum rose 0.82%, tin added 0.7% and copper advanced 0.58%.