Oil prices slip on doubts on production cut deal this week
Oil tumbles as output cut looks elusive; dollar sinks
28 Nov 2016 - 8:05
By Hideyuki Sano | Reuters
TOKYO: The dollar and U.S. bond yields fell on Monday as investors reversed a "Trumpflation" trade that has gripped markets since the U.S. elections, after oil prices slid on fears that producer countries meeting this week could fail to agree an output cut.
Though Brent crude futures last traded at $47.02 per barrel, almost flat on the day, prices had been down by as much as 2.0 percent in early Asian trade, following on from a 3.6 percent fall on Friday as doubts arose over whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reach a deal later this week.
Prospects of reduced upward pressure on inflation from oil prices, prompted investors to temper expectations for rises in U.S. interest rates, bring down treasury yields and the dollar.
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 0.6 percent, led by gains in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In contrast, U.S. stock futures slipped 0.2 percent after their stellar performance this month on hopes President-elect Trump's policy of fiscal spending, deregulation and protection of domestic industries will boost U.S. inflation and benefit Corporate America.
Japan's Nikkei average, which had performed even better than Wall Street thanks to the yen's fall, also lost its lustre, falling 0.3 percent.
"It will be scary to think markets may fully reverse their moves since the elections, changing their mind that Trump's policy may not be so good after all," said Bart Wakabayashi, head of Hong Kong FX sales at State Street Global Markets.
Wall Street's four main indexes all hit record highs last week, a feat last achieved in 1999.
Yet some investors question whether the market may have got carried away with optimism on Trump's policy, given the uncertainty on the political neophyte's presidency, including on how closely he can work together with the Congress.
But it was doubts about inflationary expectations, due to languishing oil prices that gave investors a more immediate reason to have second thoughts.
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 1.6 percent against the yen to as low as 111.355 yen, down sharply from its eight-month high of 113.90 set just on Friday. It last traded at 111.90 yen.
"As long as the dollar holds above 111-111.50 yen, I do not judge the (dollar's rising) trend has changed," said Koichi Yoshikawa, executive director of financial markets at Standard
Chartered in Tokyo.
The dollar's index against a basket of six major currencies stood at 100.88, slipping 0.6 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 0.8 percent to $1.0655, 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 $1,192.0 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 4 basis points to 2.330 percent, off its 16-month high of 2.417 percent touched on Thursday.