Oil down, focus on US elections, lockdowns, and supply
LONDON, November 3, 2020 – Oil was down on Tuesday morning in Asia, with the US, presidential elections taking up most of the investor bandwidth. European Covid-19 lockdowns across Europe were a drag on prices, however, Russian supply cuts helped balance the equation.
Brent oil futures were down 0.23% to $38.88 by 12.58 AM ET (4:58 AM GMT) and WTI futures edged down 0.16% to $36.75.
The potential for a contested US presidential election outcome and its attendant uncertainties are holding markets back today, with all eyes on the beginning of vote counting later in the day The rapid rise in European and US Covid-19 cases and lockdowns by major European countries are also bringing long term concerns about oil demand to the market.
On the plus side of the ledger, Russia is holding meetings with its top oil heads to look at extending oil production restrictions beyond the current January timeline. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has held talks aimed at pushing supply cuts further into 2021, according to Reuters.
“The Kremlin has effectively stopped two gaps with one bush – defend oil prices and effectively intervene in the rouble’s precipitous decline,” Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axi, told Reuters.
Both Russia and Saudi Arabia are keen to delay an increase in output, with oil currently trading below $40 per barrel. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is due to have a full meeting on Nov. 30.
There is the potential for Hurricane Eta, currently a category 4 hurricane, though with the potential to reach category 5, to cause some rig closures later in the week, though this is currently considered unlikely.
Investors now await crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day.
First published on Investing.com