Oil prices fall as producers fail to reach deal

HONG KONG — Crude tumbled the most in two months and currencies of oil-exporting countries slumped after talks between major producers ended in Doha, Qatar, without any agreement on limiting output. Asian stocks retreated from a four-month high, as demand for haven assets boosted the yen and treasuries.

West Texas Intermediate plunged as much as 6.8%, while Canada’s dollar and Malaysia’s ringgit posted the biggest losses among major currencies. Japan’s yen climbed towards a 17-month high after Group of 20 finance ministers signalled opposition to curbing its strength.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index fell for the first time in nine days, led by energy stocks. An exchange-traded fund tracking Brazil’s stocks rallied as President Dilma Rousseff lost a key impeachment vote.

Oil prices rebounded from a 13-year low in the past two months, helping drive global equities’ recovery from the lowest level since June 2013, on prospects major producers would agree on output caps.

Discussions stumbled as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries refused to agree to any deal unless all Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) members joined, including Iran, which was not present at the meeting, said Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

“There was an expectation baked into prices that you’d see a production freeze, and with no resolution, it adds to negative drivers for the oil price, commodities and commodity currencies,” said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, which manages about $7.2bn. “We will probably see equity markets go off the boil, as some of that recent strength in the materials and energy stocks unwinds. The reporting season remains in focus this week.”

Morgan Stanley, International Business Machines and Netflix were among companies reporting earnings on Monday. Singapore announced the steepest slide in its exports in more than three years for March, providing more evidence of a weakening economy after the city-state unexpectedly loosened monetary policy last week. International Monetary Fund MD Christine Lagarde said at the weekend that declines in commodity prices were likely to be long-lasting.

Crude was 5% lower at $38.36 a barrel in Tokyo on Monday morning. It climbed to more than $42 a barrel in New York last week for the first time this year, having rebounded over the past two months from less than $30 after Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela announced a preliminary agreement to freeze output.

Forty traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg last week were evenly split on whether the proposal would be ratified at the Doha talks.

Gold advanced 0.1%, having rallied 0.5% on Friday, as US reports showed manufacturing output had declined unexpectedly and consumer confidence had fallen.

The Canadian dollar sank 1% versus the greenback and the ringgit dropped 0.8%. Crude is Canada’s second-biggest export, while Malaysia is Asia’s only major net oil exporter.

The Australian dollar lost 0.7% and the Norwegian krone weakened 0.6%. One-month forwards for the Russian rouble slid 1.4%.

The yen rose 0.7%. On Friday, US treasury secretary Jack Lew called foreign-exchange market moves “orderly” — a signal that the US does not view yen-selling intervention as warranted.

The rebuff came after Japanese officials warned about one-sided foreign-exchange moves and speculators built record bets for the yen to extend this year’s 11% advance.

Sovereign bonds were in demand, with the yield on 10-year US treasuries falling three basis points to a one-week low of 1.73%. Australian notes due in a decade climbed for the first time in six days, pushing their yield down seven basis points to 2.49%. Japan’s 20-year yield declined to a record 0.28%.

The cost of insuring corporate and sovereign bonds rose across the Asia-Pacific region on Monday. The Markit iTraxx Asia index of credit-default swaps climbed 3.5 basis points to 143.5 basis points.

Bloomberg

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