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Oil surges, data disappoints

Oil surges, data disappoints

Data released overnight showed a further 6.6 million US citizens joined the unemployment queue last week. However crude oil prices jumped by 25% after President Trump tweeted that he’d brokered a deal with Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut production. Surging energy stocks lifted share markets to positive territory despite the global count of Covid-19 infected rising through one million.

The news of an energy peace deal was met with some scepticism. West Texas crude initially rose by 35%, but dropped back after a Kremlin spokesperson said there was no agreement. The tweet also sparked confusion, citing a production cut of ten million barrels without stating the period. A cut of that magnitude per day would be very significant, but much less so over any other timeframe.

The number of new jobless claims is a record for the US, eclipsing the previous week’s 3.3 million newly unemployed and estimates around 3.7 million. The evidence of economic destruction puts the spotlight on tonight’s non-farm payrolls release. The survey was conducted in the middle of the month, and does not include the last two jobless claims reads. Nonetheless the consensus estimate of a drop of 100,000 looks conservative. Analysts now expect unemployment to rise to somewhere between 12% and 20% in North America.

Share indices rose despite the bad news. European gains were modest, but US indices closed more than 2% higher. Intraday volatility remains higher, and the US SPX dropped into the red twice during the trading session. Forex markets discounted the news flow, although the US dollar lifted slightly. Commodity currencies failed to reflect the stronger oil prices, and CMC’s AUD index continued its decline from the 900 level.

Asia Pacific investors are facing another mixed start. Hang Seng futures are in the red, but Nikkei and Australia 200 futures are up. The China Caixin and Japan Jibun Bank services PMIs are due today, and could shape trading. European services PMIs and US jobs data tonight suggest a busy 24 hours for traders.

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