Oil dips amid rout in stocks, bonds; dollar gains

An offshore oil platform is seen at the Bouri Oil Field off the coast of Libya

Oil's inverse relationship to the dollar, whereby a stronger currency makes it more expensive for non-US investors to buy dollar-denominated assets, has reasserted itself this week, with the greenback up more than 1 per cent since Feb 1.

And US oil output will likely rise further.

At the same time, traders were gearing up for data on U.S. stockpile changes from the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute that will be released later.

However, oil prices pared some of the losses during the early sessions on Tuesday as stock markets rebounded slightly. Even as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russian Federation work to reduce output, American shale drillers remain a persistent threat.

With West Texas Intermediate crude holding above $60 a barrel since late previous year, the prospect of pumping in this price environment is seen enticing drillers to pick up the pace. Last year, it imported 8.4 million barrels of oil per day on average, beating out the United States by 500,000 barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Total volume traded was about 26 per cent above the 100-day average.

Brent crude futures for April delivery settled down 76 cents, or 1.12 per cent at US$66.86 a barrel, after touching a session low of US$66.53, the weakest since Jan 2.

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Monday also saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping by over 600 points, which caused LaRose to worry that oil could incur further losses: "If you don't see some signs in the equity markets finding their footing then that will be headwinds for the energy complex as a whole".

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move.

The S&P 500 Index was down 0.3 per cent at 2.40pm in NY after rising into the green earlier in the session.

Gasoline futures fell for a fourth day, dropping 2.2 per cent to settle at US$1.8052 a gallon, the lowest level since early January. And refinery runs increased by an estimated 0.5 million b/d in 2017 due largely to two refinery expansions in the latter half of the year.

BP Plc dodged the disappointment that afflicted other oil-company earnings by doing a better job of exploiting the upswing in crude prices.

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