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Oil drops as OPEC+ member UAE hints at increase in production

A bipartisan bill is being put forward to finalise the US government spending for the remainder of the fiscal year. Over the last few months, the Build Back Better plan was shelved, and the Child Tax Credit was scrapped. But there could be $14 billion made available to help Ukraine. Makes you wonder what the return on that money would be. US oil stocks dropped and so did the price of Brent, but the latter is probably down to a possible increase in supply. Or maybe it was just some profit-taking. Not a lot is making sense now, but the VIX is coming off its highs so maybe we’re about done pricing in the worst of it.

Market Wrap

US crude oil stocks fell by 1.9 million barrels to 411.6 million barrels in the week ending March 4, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported earlier today. The average US crude oil refinery input decreased by 21,000 barrels per day (bpd) versus the previous week. Refineries were operating at 89.3% of capacity. Gasoline production rose by 9.6 million barrels per day on a weekly basis. Crude oil imports averaged 6.3 million bpd, up 600,000 bpd over the previous week. At the same time, commercial petroleum inventories fell by 8.1 million barrels. According to the EIA, US oil imports from Russia increased by 148kBPD. It should also be noted that since the previous US administration allowed the US to export energy, the US exports around 4 million barrels of oil per day.

Yousef al-Otaiba, the ambassador for the UAE in Washington, said that the UAE would urge other OPEC nations to increase oil production levels. Saudi Arabia is currently trying to avoid any increase in production.

Oil traders who had seen price stay within Monday’s range sold off their Brent speculative positions on the UAE news as an increase in OPEC+ to keep market share, plus the real possibility of Iranian and Venezuelan oil reaching America in the near future would potentially create an oversupply. Especially if there is a recession around the corner as signalled by the yield curves.

According to data released by the Bureau of Labour Statistics this afternoon, the number of vacancies in the United States rose slightly in January compared with the previous month, reaching a record 11.26 million. Hires and resignations increased last year to 75.6 million and 47.8 million, respectively, while layoffs and discharges decreased to 17 million.

The euro has maintained its relative strength throughout the London session into the London close and this is adding pressure to the US dollar. The heatmap shows a bias towards risk-on and we have seen the European and US equities rallying since the US open.

In this morning’s TA video, I outlined that I was waiting for a pullback to the breakout level from today’s London open. Due to the increased momentum in the euro, that trade didn’t happen, and we have seen the EURUSD exceed the take profit target.

Usually, when we see a big run-up end, it's the more informed bulls taking profits that cause the retracement in price. Many traders who are late to the bull trend try to get in on the action and aim for new highs but fail to continue the trend. There are usually fewer of them, and they realize that increased selling pressure is preventing them from going higher.

We may be seeing something similar happening in the gold market now, and the catalyst may have been the news out of Russia that they had no intention of overthrowing the Ukrainian government. We should watch Russia's actions rather than relying on what it says at this stage in the conflict. However, taking profits now is probably a good idea if your trade idea was more conflict or a broader range of participants.

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