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06 October 21

U.S. oil rises to highest since 2014 amid global energy crunch

U.S. oil prices rose for a fifth day on Wednesday to their highest since 2014 amid global concerns about energy supply on signs of tightness in crude, natural gas and coal markets.

Brent crude prices also climbed for a fourth day on the supply anxiety, particularly after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC+, decided on Monday to stay with their planned output increase rather than boosting it further.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil earlier rose to $79.47 a barrel, the highest since November 2014. The market was up 0.53%, or 42 cents, at $79.35 a barrel, as of 0652 GMT.

Brent crude added 0.8%, or 66 cents, to $83.22 a barrel, trading near last session’s three-year high.

On Monday, OPEC+ agreed to adhere to its July pact to boost output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) each month until at least April 2022, phasing out 5.8 million bpd of existing production cuts.

“Crude oil extended gains as investors fret about tightness in the market as the energy crisis hikes demand,” ANZ said in a note.

Gold Down as Dollar Strengthens, U.S Treasury Yields Rise

Gold was down on Wednesday morning in Asia as the dollar strengthened and U.S. Treasury yields rose. The focus will also be on the latest U.S. jobs report, due later in the week.

Gold futures were up 0.32% to $1,755.30 by 12:38 AM ET (4:38 AM GMT). The dollar, which usually moves inversely to gold, edged up on Wednesday and remained near its highs for 2021, while the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield ticked upwards.

The jobs report, including non-farm payrolls, is due on Friday and will be critical in determining the U.S. Federal Reserve’s timeline to begin asset tapering.

Supply bottlenecks are continuing to drive most of the recent increase in inflation and will subside, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Tuesday. He added that the Fed is close to beginning asset tapering.

The U.S. services purchasing managers index (PMI) was 54.9 for September, while the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing PMI was 61.9, according to data released on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Perth Mint’s sales of gold products in September jumped about 83% to their highest level since April 2021, and silver sales rose nearly 23%.

New Zealand raises rates for first time in seven years, more to come

New Zealand’s central bank hiked interest rates on Wednesday for the first time in seven years and signalled further tightening to come, as it looks to get on top of inflationary pressures and cool a red-hot housing market.

The 25 basis point rate hike marks the start of a tightening cycle that had been expected to begin in August, but was delayed after an outbreak of the coronavirus Delta variant and a lockdown that is continuing in its biggest city Auckland.

The increase in the cash rate to 0.50% by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) had been forecast by all 20 economists polled by Reuters.

The New Zealand dollar briefly rose after the announcement but fell back to $0.6930, in line with broader market moves.

“It was pretty much in line with what everyone was picking,” said Jason Wong, senior market strategist at BNZ in Wellington. “We’re on a path towards a series of rate hikes and the market is well priced for that.”

Announcing its decision, the RBNZ said further removal of monetary policy stimulus was expected, with future moves depending on the medium-term outlook for inflation and employment.

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