(MT Newswires) – Crude ended Friday’s session lower to end the week in the negative, as refinery data from China last month showed a slowdown from the previous two months and raised demand concerns. Industrial data from China showed November refinery throughput reached 12.28 million barrels per day (bpd), up 2.9% from the same month last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, adding that was below the 12.43 million bpd in October and a record of 12.49 million bpd in September. Meanwhile, a report from the International Energy Agency on Thursday said that total global oil supply in November fell by 360,000 barrels a day as a result of outages in the North Sea and Canada, as well as a decline in Russian output. The agency expects oil demand growth next year to remain unchanged at 1.4 million barrels a day but expects a supply deficit in the second quarter of the year. In November, the agency had predicted a surplus for the entire year. Back home, the latest data from the Energy Information Administration showed crude oil stockpiles in the US dropped by about 1.21 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 7, falling for the second successive week after 10 successive weeks of increases. The decline, however, was almost three times lower than the expected level. This compares with the American Petroleum Institute report that US crude inventories in the US fell by 10.2 million barrels in the week. Finally, Baker Hughes (BHGE) said Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US fell by four to 873. The combined oil and gas rig count in the US also fell by four to 1,071 as gas rigs were flat at 198.
Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery had a weekly decline of 1.76%, settling at $51.20 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline fell during the week, down 2.05% and settling at $1.43 per gallon on Friday. Meanwhile, natural gas for March delivery sank 14.18% this week at $3.61 per 1 million British thermal unit.
The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 1.00% lower this week, compared with a gain of 2.07% in the previous week.
Gold ended the Friday session lower, settling at $1,241.40 and ultimately ending the week down 0.95% as the US dollar gained in strength against most major currencies, riding on somewhat encouraging US retail sales data. According to a report from the Commerce Department, retail sales growth in November was slightly weaker than expected due to a steep drop in sales by gas stations, although underlying retail sales growth remained strong. The report said retail sales edged up by 0.2% in November after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.1% in October. Besides the retail sales data, a likely 25-basis points hike in US interest rates next week supported the dollar’s uptick. The Federal Reserve, which is scheduled to announce its monetary policy Dec. 19, is widely expected to raise interest rates for the fourth time this year. However, contrary to earlier indications and expectations, the central bank is unlikely to keep hiking rates in the coming year. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said that he hopes the Fed “won’t be raising interest rates anymore.” On the other hand, copper ended Friday’s session down at $2.76 per pound, but managed to squeeze through a gain of 0.33% for the week, even as downbeat economic data from China weighed on industrial metals as a whole. China reported that industrial production for November was 5.4% — the slowest growth pace since early 2016. Forecasts were for 5.9%. It also said that its retail sales for the same month were up 8.1% — the slowest pace of growth since early 2003. Expectations were for 8.8%. The impact of the lackluster industrial data, however, was mitigated by China’s announcement it would rescind retaliatory tariffs on imported US autos.
Agriculture commodities ended the week mostly mixed. Sugar had a weekly increase of 0.24% and settled at a price of $0.13 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $1.02 per pound at Friday’s close, down 1.83% for the week; and cocoa rose 4.79% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,237 per tonne. Among grains, wheat fell 0.33% and settled at $5.30 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; and corn was down 0.13% in the week and settled at $3.85 per bushel Friday. Meanwhile, soybeans fell 1.59% for the week, closing at $9.14 per bushel on Friday. The ongoing trade discussions between the US and China continue to weigh on prices of agricultural products, and traders are keeping an eye on the developments. On Wednesday, China made good on its pledge to increase soybean imports. The US Department of Agriculture reported that private exporters sold 1.13 million tonnes of beans to China. This is the first major purchase of US soybeans since Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce earlier this month. However, traders were expecting the country to buy between 3 million and 5 million tonnes. There is still some uncertainty if China will buy more in the near future.
The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) rose 0.11% higher for the week, a slight improvement from the 0.03% increase in the prior week.
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