Oil prices fell on Friday, dragged down by a surging dollar and sliding Chinese commodities which at least temporarily outweighed crude supply disruptions in Canada as a result of a massive wildfire threatening its huge oil sands operations.
The dollar firmed against the euro and yen on Friday ahead of the April U.S. nonfarm payrolls due later in the day that could support the greenback.
Traders said that a broad sell-off in China’s commodities market, which turned a recent rally into a slide, was also weighing on oil during Asian trading hours.
This week’s stronger dollar halted an almost 7 percent fall against a basket of other leading currencies .DXY since January. A strong dollar can reduce demand for oil as it makes the dollar-traded commodity more expensive for buyers using other currencies.
International benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $44.75 per barrel at 06.45 GMT, 26 cents below their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $43.95, down 37 cents.
“Investors continued to liquidate (commodity) positions as the U.S. dollar strengthened,” ANZ bank said on Friday.
The strong dollar at least temporarily outweighed the effects of deep output cuts in North America.
An out-of-control fire around the Canadian oil city of Fort McMurray has forced the evacuation of its residents and the closure of 690,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production from Canada’s total oil sands output of 2.2 million bpd.
Adding to the supply outage in Canada is an ongoing decline in U.S. output.
Data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that U.S. crude oil output has fallen by 410,000 bpd this year, and by 800,000 bpd since mid-2015, as producers succumb to a rout that saw prices tumble more than 70 percent between mid-2014 and early-2016.
“While the wildfire in the oil-sands regions of Canada is still wreaking havoc with many producers, U.S. oil output continues to feel the impact of low prices,” ANZ said.
Analysts said the hits to North American output, combined with disruptions in Latin America, were contributing to a fast erosion of global oversupply that peaked as high as 2 million bpd last year.
“Unplanned oil supply disruptions have been a key element so far this year that have contributed to a tighter oil market than was otherwise expected,” said analyst Guy Baber of Simmons & Co.