By Han Tan, Chief Market Analyst at Exinity Group
Oil prices could be in for some volatility should there be any surprises out of Wednesday’s OPEC+ meeting, the latest EIA data or the assessment of Hurricane Ida’s impact on US output.
Although OPEC+ is widely expected to press ahead with its intended output increase of 400,00 barrels per day, it remains to be seen how the alliance would address the downside demand risks stemming from the Delta variant.
An OPEC+ supply hike should also help keep key members of the alliance onside, placing a lid on the political dramas that have plagued recent key meetings.
Oil prices should find enough support from continuously tightening global market conditions through to the year-end. However, any upside in prices may be limited, barring a halt to OPEC+ output hikes, with the group’s own projections reportedly pointing to a return to surplus in 2022.
From a technical perspective, the 50-day simple moving average remains the immediate resistance level for WTI futures, while offering immediate support for Brent.
Going forward, the trajectory for oil benchmarks will be mostly dictated by pandemic-related developments and their impact on the recovery in demand.
Stocks still on course for new highs
Asian stocks are mostly in the green, while US and European futures point to a positive start to September.
Stocks worldwide are set to continue churning out near-term gains given the longer runway for equity bulls, accorded by a dovish Fed Chair who’s in no rush to raise US interest rates.
Risk assets are operating on the idea that, despite the stubborn nature of the pandemic and the enduring concerns over the Delta variant, such developments will not warrant a return to the total lockdowns across broad swathes of the developed world.
As such, economic recovery should continue chugging along with major central banks wanting to make sure it isn’t derailed by ill-timed policy adjustments.
However, the recent deterioration in US consumer confidence, as well as China’s official non-manufacturing and Caixin manufacturing PMIs show that a healthy dose of caution is still warranted.
Risk appetite should move past signals of a decelerating economic recovery as long as calls to wind down pandemic-era stimuli aren’t ramped up, despite some ECB officials apparently joining the hawkish fray.
US non-farm payrolls key to Fed mandate
Friday’s US jobs report will serve as the next important marker on how soon the Fed will tighten monetary policy. A headline non-farm payrolls print that’s significantly higher than the Wall Street forecast of 748,000, and one that restores more of the 6 million jobs lost since the pandemic, will force dollar bulls to defy Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s patient stance.
On the other hand, risk assets are likely to revel in signs of a cooling US jobs market which would push back the thought of a sooner-than-expected US rate hike.
Ultimately, as long as market sentiment can move past concerns stemming from downside risks, abundant central bank liquidity should still translate into fresh record highs for stocks over the near-term.
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