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Market Update: Oil Takes Cautious Steps Towards Recovery

Posted on 15/05/2020

Insights , Commodity Finance

BACB Market Update


After spending much of the week trading close to a five-week high, Oil edged ever higher on Thursday, as investors weighed cuts to supply by Saudi Arabia against lingering concerns over the pace of recovery. Saudi Aramco – which is sticking to plans to issue a dividend of $18.75 billion for the first three months of 2020 – cut sales to the U.S. and Europe by about half, while OPEC and its allies curb daily output by almost 10 million barrels.

As the growth of the global stockpile begins to slow, some optimism is building around pockets of fuel demand in India and China. Nevertheless, and OPEC has presented a bleak outlook for global oil markets for the second quarter, and the head of the International Energy Agency said that oil use will remain below pre-coronavirus levels for at least a year.


Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance exchange, estimated on Thursday that the industry will suffer around $203 billion in losses from the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The projected losses include about $107 billion from underwriting claims, with the rest from insurers’ investment portfolios – a level comparable to the most catastrophic natural disasters. While cancelled events and business interruption have spurred numerous claims, further losses can be attributed to the global recession that is putting the payment of many household and business insurance premiums at risk.


The U.K. economy shrank almost 6% in March amid the coronavirus lockdown, with the Bank of England forecasting a dramatic 25% contraction in the second quarter. Land Securities Group Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest real estate investment trust, fell as much as 13.9% in London trading on Tuesday, representing the biggest drop since 2016’s Brexit vote. London house prices have seen a dip, declining by 0.3% between March and April according to real-estate broker Knight Frank.


Robert Swaak, the new CEO of ABN AMRO Bank NV, has revealed plans to review the bank’s strategy after the Dutch lender posted its first loss since 2013. Following many European peers, the bank made significant provisions for future loan losses amounting to 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion). European stocks dropped throughout the week, amid notable declines in auto and travel shares.

Norway, the world’s biggest sovereign investor, plans to draw a record 382 billion kroner ($37 billion) from its wealth fund. The unprecedented asset sale withdrawal – over four times Norway’s previous record – reveals the scale of the economic damage wrought by the pandemic and the oil price shock.

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