After its latest rebound, which reached its peak in February, before the Covid-19 crisis, Oil took profits. On Friday, US light crude WTI (February futures contract on Nymex) gave up -2.3 percent to $52.36 a barrel, while March’s North Sea Brent also fell -2.3 percent to $55.11. Crude oil prices stagnated throughout the week.
Investors are worried about signs this week of a new Covid-19 wave in China, putting more than 22 million people to rest, weighing on demand for crude oil from the region, the world’s largest crude oil importer. According to Johns Hopkins University in the United States, the worldwide mortality toll from the pandemic currently stands at more than 93 million cases and more than 2 million deaths. The most afflicted region, the United States, has 23.4 million cases and more than 391,000 deaths.
At $1,829.90 for the February Comex futures contract, Gold lost -1.2 percent on Friday. Commodities have suffered from a recovery in the dollar in particular.
Released on Friday, the most recent macroeconomic surveys have sent alarming signs on the demand side, accounting for more than two-thirds of the U.S. GDP. On a month-on-month basis, retail revenues dropped by 0.7 percent in December, while the consensus was for a near-stability (-0.1 percent), following a decline of 1.4 percent in November. This is the third straight month of fall, coinciding with the sharp epidemic in the United States of coronavirus, where the total number of deaths is currently 4,000 a day.
On the other hand, in December, the consumer price index rose by 0.3 percent relative to the previous month, compared to a forecast of 0.4 percent. It appreciated by 0.1 percent, minus food and oil, versus a consensus of 0.2 percent.