Oil prices edge up after nearly 8% 'Black Friday' plunge

[SINGAPORE] Oil prices won back some ground after hefty losses on Friday, but remained under pressure with Brent crude below US$60 per barrel amid weak fundamentals and struggling financial markets.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at US$59.20 per barrel at 0049 GMT, up 40 cents, or 0.7 per cent, from their last close.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures, were up 16 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at US$50.58 per barrel.

But Monday's gains did little to make up for the almost 8-per cent plunge on Friday, which traders have already dubbed 'Black Friday'.

Greg McKenna, an independent financial analyst from Australia said there had been an "utter capitulation in crude oil" markets.

The downward pressure comes from surging supply and a slowdown in demand-growth which is expected to result in an oil supply overhang in 2019.

WIDER DOWNTURN

Beyond weak fundamentals, oil markets are also being impacted by a downturn in wider financial markets.

"2018 clearly marked the end of the 10-year Asia credit bull market due to tightening financial conditions in Asia (especially China), and we expect this to remain the case in 2019," Morgan Stanley said in a note released on Sunday.

"We don't think that we are at the bottom of the cycle yet," the US bank said.

Oil markets have also been weighed down by the strong US-dollar, which has surged against most other currencies this year, thanks to rising interest rates that have pulled investor money out of other currencies and also assets like oil, which are seen as more risky than the greenback.

"Anything denominated against the USD is under pressure right now, said Mr McKenna.

Another risk to global trade and overall economic growth is the trade war between the world's two biggest economies, the United States and China.

"The US-China trade conflict poses a downside risk as we forecast the US to impose 25 per cent tariffs on all China imports by Q1 2019," US bank J.P. Morgan said in a note published on Friday.

REUTERS

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