Oil Slips More than 1%
Oil prices fell more than 1% on Thursday, off from a near two-month high hit in the prior session, amid mounting fears about the COVID-19 crisis in India. The country saw deaths rising by a record 4,205 while infections growing 348,421 in the 24 hours to Wednesday, taking the tally past 23 million. Traders now await President Biden’s remarks on the Colonial Pipeline shutdown later in the day as the pipeline network began to slowly restart operations Wednesday. On the supply side, OPEC+ revised down its estimates for global oil demand for Q2 by 300,000 bpd due to virus situation in India; while starting a gradual easing of its oil production curbs this month, pumping an extra 350,000 barrels a day, saying that demand will grow by 5.95 million barrels per day this year. Meantime, the EIA predicted demand for oil will outstrip supply. At around 06: 30 AM GMT, WTI crude fell 1.1% to $65.33 a barrel, while Brent oil retreated 1% to $68.59 a barrel.
US Stock Futures Rise Markedly
US stock futures pointed to a marked gain at the open on Thursday, as traders were upbeat after Federal Reserve vice chair Richard Clarida said the stimulus would still be needed for some time. Meantime, Fed’s Bostic noted that it was still too early to comment if the latest inflation figures are worrisome. In April, the US annual inflation rate jumped to 4.2%, the highest in 13 years. Risk appetite was also supported by President Joe Biden’s statement that more than 60% of Americans should be vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by next week. On Wednesday, Wall Street suffered some of its worst daily performances of 2021, amid worries that the Fed might have to move early on tightening. The Dow sank 681 points, or 1.99% lower, hitting its single-worst session since January. The S&P 500 lost 2.1%, its largest one-day drop since February, and the Nasdaq slipped 2.7%.
Australia Equities Trade at Near 3-Week Low
The ASX 200 retreated 35 points or 0.5% to a three-week low of 7,007 in afternoon deals on Thursday, falling for the third session in a row and tracking a plunge in Wall Street overnight, after reports that US inflation hit its highest in 13 years in April. White House said Wednesday that the US government is prepared for “months or quarters” of higher prices, while the latest data showed the country’s inflation jumping the most in 13 years in April. On the fiscal front, the US ran a budget gap of USD 226 billion in April, compared with a USD 738 billion gap in the same period 2020. Traders shrugged off news that Canberra had secured 25 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 jabs from the US, with the surprise deal also paving the way for local production of mRNA vaccines. Perenti Global Ltd sank nearly 27% on a downbeat operational update. Meantime, Xero tumbled 10.3%.