24 November 2014 – Oil markets were steady in early Asian trading on Monday, with benchmark Brent crude prices remaining above $80 a barrel following a rally late on Friday over China’s interest rate cut and ahead of a possible output reduction by producer group Opec.
Asian stock markets and the dollar rose on Monday morning, fuelled by hopes for global growth after China rolled out a surprise interest rate cut and the European Central Bank indicated it would step up asset purchases to boost the euro zone economy.
After climbing on Friday, Brent remained stable on Monday, with analysts saying that supply and demand fundamentals would likely prevent further rallies.
Brent was trading at $80.43 a barrel early on Monday, up only 0.07 cents from its settlement. However, it had risen as much as $2.28 on Friday to a session high of $81.61. US crude was trading flat around $76.50 a barrel.
“China’s surprise rate cut might provide some initial support to commodities, but weak domestic demand and tight credit conditions will likely continue to weigh on sentiment,” ANZ bank said in a research note on Monday.
The bank also said that market focus this week would remain on whether Opec would cut output at its meeting in Vienna on Thursday to stop the recent price falls which have hurt oil export revenues of its 12 member states.
Since June, oil has lost about 30% of its value, with Brent plunging from a high above $115 and US crude falling from above $107.
Opec members Iran, Libya and Venezuela have urged fellow crude producers to support oil prices through production cuts, while Kuwait has said an output reduction is unlikely.
Key will be the position of the club’s biggest producer and exporter Saudi Arabia, which has so far sent mixed messages.