Oil dropped from the highest level in four months in New York before European finance ministers meet today for discussion over the region’s debt crisis and as U.S. lawmakers vote this week on budget measures.
West Texas Intermediate futures slid as much as 0.5 %, declining for the first time in four days. House Republicans will use the planned Jan 23 vote on a debt-ceiling increase for trying to force Senate Democrats to outline their spending plans. Finance ministers in Brussels will assess Greece, Spain and Cyprus and have debate over to enact policies they made promise to subdue the crisis of the region.
Guy Wolf, who is a strategist at London-based commodities broker Marex Spectron Group Ltd., said that in Europe, they believe things are deteriorating really fast. Everyone has belief that the crisis has been solved. Yet the politicians have not done anything, they have just seen markets apply less pressure.
WTI crude for February delivery, which will expire tomorrow (22nd January, 2013), fell as much as 51 cents to $ 95.05 a barrel in electronic dealing on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $ 95.13 at 10.46 a.m. London Time. The more active March agreement was down 40 cents at $ 95.64. Front-month futures rose 7 cents on Jan. 18 to the highest close since Sept. 17.
The average volume of all the agreements was 22 % below the 100-day average. Floor trading will be closed today for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Brent for March settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange dropped as much as 38 cents, or 0.4 %, to $ 111.51 a barrel. The average volume of all the agreements traded was 6 % below the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $ 16 to WTI futures for the same month. The gap was $ 15.16 on Jan. 17, the narrowest since July 24.
WTI is falling as a technical indicator shows prices have gone up really fast for further gains to be sustainable. The 14-day relative strength index was higher than 70 for a second day on January 18, according to data accumulated. A reading above that level signals a market is overbought and will decline. The RSI is at 69 today.
Futures in New York may fall to $ 50 a barrel in the next two years as oil production rises in North America, Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) stated in a report on 20th January 2013.
The Treasury Department has said the US will surpass its $ 16.4 trillion borrowing authority sometime from mid-February to early March. Congress faces two other financial deadlines in the coming 90 days, and House Republicans plan to use those debates rather than the immediate one over the debt limit to push for federal spending cuts.
Since the year 1960, Congress has lifted or revised the debt ceiling 79 times, which also includes 49 times under Republican presidents, according to the Treasury Department.
The finance ministers are debating over the topic that whether the 500 billion euro ( $666 billion) European Stability Mechanism should take over earlier bank bailouts that were routed through governments, and what to do with the so-called legacy assets. A European Union aide who briefed reporters defined those as loans already on a bank’s balance sheet that could later cause difficulties.
The EU accounted for 16 % of the world’s oil consumption in 2011, and the US used 21 %, according to BP Plc (BP/)’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
The commercial crude inventories of China fell at the end of December to the lowest level in nine months and gasoline stockpiles rose to the highest in almost two years after the nation increased crude-processing to a record.
Crude supplies, excluding emergency reserves, dropped 3.6 % from a month previously, a report from Xinhua news agency’s China Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals newsletter showed today. Inventories dropped to 29.15 million metric tons, the lowest since March, as the data was accumulated. Gasoline stockpiles gained 8.5 % to 7.02 million tons, the highest since February 2011.
Net-long positions in WTI held by the money managers, which includes hedge funds, commodity-trading advisers, hopped by 11,183 futures and options combined, or 6.7 %, to 179,249, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s 18th January Commitments of Traders report. Bullish gasoline wagers were cut by 2,067 futures and options accumulated, or 2.8 %, to 73,093.