Bulls approached and quickly withdrew from oil’s 100-day moving average, driving crude to its first weekly loss since the start of the year. 

West Texas Intermediate shed 2 per cent this week with much of that retreat occurring on Friday. Throughout the week, oil rallied on optimism driven by China’s gathering rebound only to swing as risk-off sentiment descended upon broader markets amid uneven corporate earnings and lingering questions over how the Federal Reserve will react.  

Despite oil encountering resistance after running headlong into the 100-day moving average at US$81.99, investors are still betting on growth. Money managers increased their bullish positions on Brent, the global benchmark, to the highest in 11 months. Brent’s spread flipped into a premium this week, signaling expectations that demand will outstrip supply in the short term. 

Embedded Image

Crude has recovered from a massive drop at the start of the year, with much of the optimism coming from China, the biggest importer. Investors are monitoring the impact of European Union sanctions on Russia’s seaborne shipments of petroleum products early next month, which some warn could be more disruptive than past restrictions. Analysts at JP Morgan Chase & Co said in a note Friday that the profit margin for turning oil into products like diesel is soaring and supportive of further crude demand.


  • WTI for March delivery fell US$1.33 to settle at US$79.68 a barrel in New York.
  • Brent for the same month dropped 81 cents to settle at US$86.66 a barrel.