Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Oil Prices Slip as Concerns over Hurricane Damage Ease

FILE PHOTO: Isla Oil Refinery PDVSA terminal in Willemstad on the island of Curacao, February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Isla Oil Refinery PDVSA terminal in Willemstad on the island of Curacao, February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo
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Oil Prices Slip as Concerns over Hurricane Damage Ease

FILE PHOTO: Isla Oil Refinery PDVSA terminal in Willemstad on the island of Curacao, February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Isla Oil Refinery PDVSA terminal in Willemstad on the island of Curacao, February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

Oil prices slipped on Tuesday after a hurricane that hit a key US oil-producing hub in Texas caused less damage than markets had expected, easing concerns over supply disruption.
Brent futures fell 49 cents or 0.6% to $85.26 a barrel by 0852 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slipped 54 cents or 0.7% to $81.79, Reuters said.
Although oil refining activity slowed and some production sites were evacuated, major refineries along the US Gulf Coast appeared to see minimal impact from Hurricane Beryl, which weakened into a tropical storm after hitting the Texas coast.
"Early indications suggest that most energy infrastructure has come through unscathed," ING analysts Warren Patterson and Ewa Manthey wrote in a client note, adding that price action in crude oil and refined fuel markets reflect little concern on supply disruption from the hurricane.
That eased market worries about the risk of supply disruption in Texas, where 40% of US crude oil is produced.
Major oil-shipping ports around Corpus Christi, Galveston and Houston had been shut ahead of the storm. The Corpus Christi Ship Channel reopened on Monday and the Port of Houston was projected to resume operations on Tuesday afternoon.
Several key refiners such as Marathon Petroleum were also preparing to restart their refining units.
Market participants are also keeping an eye on the situation in the Middle East for more trading cues. Oil prices settled down 1% on Monday amid hopes a possible ceasefire deal in Gaza could reduce worries about global crude supply disruption.
Senior US officials were in Egypt for talks on Monday, but gaps remained between the two sides, the White House said, and Hamas said a new Israeli push into Gaza threatened the potential agreement.
"Crude futures were inching lower early Tuesday after a second consecutive session of losses suggested an overdue pullback from (a) nine-week high," said Vandana Hari, founder of oil market analysis provider Vanda Insights.
Markets were also waiting for the release of key US inflation data, with Federal Reserve Chair Powell set to appear before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday, as investors wagered a slew of soft labor market data has greatly increased the chance of an interest rate cut in September to about 80%.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Gold Drifts Higher as US Rate Cut Optimism Boosts Appeal

A jeweller shows a gold bar at his shop in downtown Kuwait City on May 20, 2024. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)
A jeweller shows a gold bar at his shop in downtown Kuwait City on May 20, 2024. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)
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Gold Drifts Higher as US Rate Cut Optimism Boosts Appeal

A jeweller shows a gold bar at his shop in downtown Kuwait City on May 20, 2024. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)
A jeweller shows a gold bar at his shop in downtown Kuwait City on May 20, 2024. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)

Gold prices nudged higher on Tuesday as comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell bolstered the case for a September rate cut, while investors awaited more US economic data for further monetary policy cues.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $2,423.89 per ounce by 0140 GMT. On Monday, prices hit their highest level since May 20, when bullion scaled a record peak of $2,449.89.

US gold futures were flat at $2,429.90.

"Powell continued to lay the groundwork for upcoming policy easing. A rate cut in September is now fully priced in by markets, which may keep sentiments in gold prices well-supported in the lead-up," said IG market strategist Yeap Jun Ron, Reuters reported.

Powell said on Monday the three US inflation readings over the second quarter of this year "add somewhat to confidence" that the pace of price increases is returning to the Fed's target in a sustainable fashion, remarks that suggest a turn to interest rate cuts may not be far off.

When interest rates decrease, the allure of non-yielding bullion typically increases.

Investors were awaiting US retail sales data due at 1230 GMT on Tuesday and comments from Fed governors Christopher Waller and Adriana Kugler later this week for further direction.

A subdued retail sales report may underpin gold prices on dovish Fed bets, while a break to a fresh high will mark a continuation of gold's broader upward trend, which may leave the $2,600 level on watch next, Yeap said.

Elsewhere, India's four-week platinum imports from mid-June eclipsed 2023's total as bullion dealers exploited a loophole by registering alloys containing around 90% gold as platinum to avoid higher duties, government and industry officials told Reuters.

Among other metals, spot silver fell 0.9% to $30.72 per ounce and platinum eased 0.4% to $991.40, while palladium rose 0.2% to $951.84.