Oil prices jump as global equities mostly retreat

Brent crude hit $90 per barrel for the first time this year (Robyn BECK)
Brent crude hit $90 per barrel for the first time this year (Robyn BECK)

Oil prices jumped Tuesday after Russia and Saudi Arabia extended cuts to supplies, while global equities mostly retreated and the dollar gained.

The price of the main international oil contract, Brent crude, hit $90 per barrel for the first time this year, following production announcements by Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Russia said it would extend its oil export cuts of 300,000 barrels per day until the end of the year, while Saudi Arabia said it would maintain its production cut of 1 million barrels per day to year end as well.

"This was flagged last week to some extent but crude is fetching strong bids on the announcement," said Finalto analyst Neil Wilson.

The main US contract, WTI, also advanced, finishing at $86.69 a barrel, its highest close since mid-November.

Higher oil prices translated into gains by petroleum-linked US equities like Chevron and Devon Energy, while most industrial sectors declined. The broad-based S&P 500 finished 0.4 percent lower.

The increase in crude prices has sparked concern that demand could falter, especially as consumers confront high interest rates meant to bring down inflation.

Market analyst Michael Hewson noted that higher oil prices will complicate efforts by central banks to lower inflation.

"We're already seeing the impact of this trend in higher input prices in today's PMI numbers pointing to the prospect that inflation is likely to remain sticky in the weeks and months ahead," he said.

A slew of updated PMI surveys on business activity were released on Tuesday, with the eurozone survey showing input cost inflation accelerating for the first time in nearly a year.

The eurozone services fell into a contraction to hit a 30-month low, while the overall survey showed activity contracting to a 33-month low.

Both Frankfurt and Paris stocks closed down, as did London.

A PMI survey showing China's services sector grew last month at a much slower pace than expected dampened sentiment in Asian trading.

The Caixin Services PMI came in at 51.8 in August, down from 54.1 in July.

While the figure above 50 still indicates an expansion, it suggests growth is decelerating in the world's second largest economy.

Hong Kong's stocks index closed down more than two percent -- though struggling mainland developers including Evergrande and Sunac soared.

Shanghai was also well in the red.

- Key figures around 2030 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent at 34,641.97 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 4,496.83 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 14,020.95 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,437.93 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.3 percent at 15,771.71 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,254.72 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 4,269.16 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 33,036.76 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 2.1 percent at 18,456.91 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,154.37 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0726 from $1.0796 on Monday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2565 from $1.2625

Dollar/yen: UP at 147.68 yen from 146.47 yen

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.34 pence from 85.50 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.3 percent at $86.69 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.2 percent at $90.04 per barrel