Oil prices remained firm during Mondays Asian trading session and hovered near multi-month highs after U.S. drilling for new production declined and U.S. refineries continued their reboot after getting hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma earlier this month.
U.S. WTI crude futures were up 0.24 percent to $50.01 per barrel as of 1:57 p.m. HK/SIN, and the commodity looks poised to break the key resistance level of $50.43 per barrel, Thmoson Reuters analyst Wang Tao commented. Brent crude futures were at $55.72 per barrel, up 0.18 percent, near the five-month high of $55.99 per barrel hit on Thursday.
Oil prices have been impacted recently by rising demand from OPEC and IEA and a decrease in refining from the Gulf of Mexico, the region hit hardest by the recent hurricanes. U.S. energy firms cut seven oil rigs in the week ending September 15, reducing the total count to 749, the fewest since June.
The dollar continued its uptrend against the yen, despite a public holiday on Monday which kept Japanese markets closed. The dollar was trading near seven-week highs after U.S. Treasury yields rose and data showed an increase in U.S. consumer prices which renewed expectations that there may yet still be an interest rate hike before the year’s end. The Federal Reserve is meeting on September 19-20, and they are expected to announce a plan that will begin shrinking its balance sheet while keeping interest rates stable.
The dollar was up 0.34 percent to 111.22 yen. The greenback also gained modestly against the euro to trade at $1.1942.