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Oil retreats after U.S. rig count rose for first time since December

News Date: 21/3/2016 03:03:40
 
Oil prices gave up ground today after a long rally in the past weeks after data showed the oil rig count rising last week for the first time since December, raising oversupply worries again in the markets. Investors still wait for an April meeting in Qatar between major producers to discuss freezing production, which would rally prices.

Brent crude futures slid 30 cents, or about 0.70% to trade at $40.92 a barrel, edging away from a multi-month high hit last week at $42.54, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures registered wider losses, skidding 45 cents, or above one percent to hover around $40.69 a barrel.

Asian shares gained some ground, with China's Shanghai index jumping 1.76% on hopes of more government stimulus. India's Nifty added 0.65%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed a third of a percentage point. Japanese and Australian shares closed early for a holiday, registering losses in their paths.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against an array of six major currencies, edged up a bit in Monday to 95.17, not far however from a five-month trough at 94.61. Sterling in particular dropped 0.44% against the federal currency on Brexit worries, last trading at 1.4420.  

Investors wait for a basket of data later today, with the Eurozone's current account expected to have risen in January to 26.3 billion euros from December's 25.5 billion, which would be good news for the common currency.

From the U.S., existing home sales are forecast to have fallen in February to an annualized 5.32 million units, compared to January's 5.47 million, which would be mildly negative for the housing sector in the world's largest economy and the greenback.

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