After maintaining stability for three consecutive trading days amid mixed sentiment, crude oil prices are weaker in the early hours. Markets are cautious ahead of US rig count data scheduled to release by Baker Hughes today.
The market sentiment was dented by the rise in inventory levels reported during the week. The American Petroleum Institute reported a rise in inventories by 9.94 MMbbls (million barrels). Similarly, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a build in inventories by 9.53 MMbbls. According to the latest reports, OPEC could extend the size of the output cuts pledged at the end of last year. However, the news failed to lift oil prices as the market awaits rig count data. Inventory data are already weighing on markets.
At 6:40 AM EST on February 17, the West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures contract for March 2017 delivery was trading at $53.13 per barrel—a fall of ~0.41%. The Brent crude futures contract for March 2017 delivery fell ~0.56% to $55.34 per barrel. The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) closed at $39.52 after rising 1.7% on February 17.
After a slight pullback on Thursday, copper prices are trading lower in the early hours on February 17. Despite the slight decline, the market sentiment is stronger amid copper supply disruptions. The ongoing strike at Chile’s Escondida mine is still the main focus. It’s the largest mine for copper supply. At 6:45 AM EST on February 17, the COMEX copper futures contract for March 2017 delivery was trading at $2.7 per pound—a fall of ~0.75%. The PowerShares DB Base Metals ETF (DBB) fell 0.48%, while the SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) fell 0.12% on February 16. Gold (GLD) is stable, while silver (SLW) is weaker in the early hours due to the firmer dollar. Platinum is stable, while palladium is weaker in the early hours.