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WTI crude oil prices remain subdued in the mid-$79.00 range with fresh recession concerns

Daniel Rogers

Jan 19, 2023 15:00



WTI crude oil maintains losses near $79.50 on Thursday morning, following a steep decline from the 1.5-month high the previous day. In doing so, the black gold struggles to justify expectations of increased energy demand from China amidst fresh US economic downturn concerns. The stronger U.S. dollar and recent hawkish statements from Federal Reserve (Fed) officials could also be placing downward pressure on the energy benchmark.


The previous day, declining US data rekindled fears of an economic slowdown and weighed on Oil prices. In spite of this, US Retail Sales posted a 1.1% MoM decline in December, compared to a -0.8% market projection and a -1.0% prior reading (revised). On the same note, the Producer Price Index plummeted to its lowest level in six months with a -0.5% MoM figure, compared to a -0.1% MoM figure that was anticipated and a 0.2% MoM result from the previous month (revised).


In spite of this, Fed members remained hawkish as St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard stated that US interest rates must rise higher in order to reduce inflationary pressures. On the same line, Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and Esther George, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, stated that the central bank must restore price stability, "which includes returning to 2% inflation." Recently, Lorie Logan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, advocated for a slower rate of rate hikes but also acknowledged the possibility of a higher rate ceiling.


Aside from China, experts at Goldman Sachs anticipated a stronger global economy and preferred more energy consumption from the dragon nation. In recent times, though, worries about the US-China friction have outweighed optimism. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met in Germany on Wednesday, which initially bolstered risk appetite with the BOJ's inactivity. However, the diplomats' mention of the disagreements sparked market fears of a new round of friction between the United States and China. Previously, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) stated that Beijing'should be cautious' as the United States and Taiwan pursue tighter economic ties.


The American Petroleum Institute's (API) Weekly Crude Oil Stock was 7.615 million compared 14.865 million the week prior.


As a result of these bets, Wall Street closed in the red, and yields also declined, but the US Dollar rebounded after falling to its lowest level since late May. However, the US Dollar Index (DXY) also rebounded from levels that were the lowest since May 31.


In the future, risk triggers will be more significant than the weekly oil inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration, which is predicted to be -1.75M compared to 18.962M previously.