Oil Steadies in Asia After Slumping on Weak U.S. Economic Data

By Administrator_ India

Capital Sands

Oil steadied near $52 a barrel in Asia after slumping the most in almost four weeks on a combination of a stronger dollar, weak U.S. economic data and a still-surging coronavirus.

Futures in New York edged lower after tumbling 2.3% on Friday. U.S. consumer sentiment cooled more than forecast in January, while data showing sluggish retail sales and producer prices also highlighted the obstacles facing the world’s largest economy as it recovers from the virus. The dollar strengthened last week, reducing the appeal of commodities that are priced in the currency.

Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly, meanwhile, complicating the global recovery in energy demand. The U.S. is on track to reach 400,000 deaths before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, while the U.K. is closing its travel corridors with countries around the world as cases spike.

Crude still managed to eke out a small gain last week, helped in part by a rebalancing of commodity indexes and the promise of more stimulus spending in the U.S. However, Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion relief package includes initiatives opposed by many Republicans and may lead to a drawn out legislative battle.

Libya’s oil output, meanwhile, has dropped by about 200,000 barrels a day after the closure of a leaking pipeline, underscoring how difficult it is for the country to maintain its production following almost a decade of civil war.

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