Oil Prices Continue to Firm Up

Oil prices were higher on Wednesday morning, powered by a decline in I.S. crude inventories and continued worries about political tensions in Iraq and Iran. U.S. WTI futures were up 0.33 percent to $52.05 per barrel and Brent crude futures were up 0.60 percent to $58.23 per barrel as of 1:19 p.m. HK/SIN.

Some technical analysts have noted that a “Golden Cross” is approaching for WTI. The Golden Cross is a technical pattern in which the 50-day moving average price is higher than the 200 day moving average, a highly bullish indicator.

According to data out from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday, U.S. crude inventories fell by 7.1 million barrels last week, to a total of 461.4 million barrels. Additional data will be released by the Energy Information Administration later today.

Political Tensions Also Play a Role

Oil prices were pushed by continued tensions in the Middle East, where Iraqi forces are continuing to fight for the Kurdish city of Kirkuk, a city that currently produces 500,000 barrels of oil per day.

On a technical level, however, traders are dubious as to whether this fighting will have significant long-term impacts on oil prices, especially since WTI prices are finding significant resistance near the $52.20 level.

Currency Markets

On the currency markets, trading was fairly flat around midday on Wednesday. The dollar was up against most of its primary trading partners including against the yen, where it was trading at 112.31 after struggling in the past few sessions. The dollar also gained modestly against the euro, the Swiss franc, the pound and the Australian dollar.

The greenback’s strength was supported by the firming of expectations for another interest rate hike before the end of the year, and from U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent support of a hawkish replacement for Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.   

Sara Patterson
Sara Patterson has a Master’s Degree in political science and enjoys analyzing both current events and the international markets to get a fuller perspective of the currency market. Before turning to financial writing, she taught English writing skills to high-school age students. Sara’s work has been published on various financial and Forex blogs.