US crude oil futures rallied on Tuesday (24 January) after President Donald Trump inked his approval of two controversial pipelines, provided American steel is used in their construction and layout work.
Amid another flurry of executive orders, Trump backed the Alberta to Texas extension of the Keystone pipeline project – i.e. Keystone XL - that was halted by the Obama administration in 2015, as well as the Dakota Access pipeline, opposed by Native Americans from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who object to it passing through their land.
Oil prices found further support after Opec and non-Opec producers partaking in the ongoing round of crude production cuts, reassured the market about both their commitment and monitoring of the outlined reduction, while small-scale producer Equatorial Guinea signalled its intention to join Opec.
At 5:15pm GMT, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) front month futures contract was up by 1.42% or 75° to $53.50 per barrel, while the Brent was 1% or 51¢ higher at $55.74 per barrel.
Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com, said: "Oil prices were initially weaker at the start of the new week, but they have now recovered. Most people are looking at how US production would respond. However, it could be several months before we see American production respond in a meaningful way to higher oil prices.
"Shale producers may allow the oil market to fully re-balance before increasing production once again. So, it is far too early in my view for the impact of renewed rise in US oil production to be reflected in falling oil prices."
Away from the oil market, precious metals presented a mixed picture. At 5:19 pm GMT, the Comex gold futures contract for February delivery was 0.27% or $3.30 lower at $1,212.30 an ounce, while spot gold was down 0.40% or $4.93 at $1,213.30 an ounce.
However, Comex silver rose 0.31% or 5¢ at $17.24 an ounce, while spot platinum was up 2.23% or $21.31 to $1004.26 an ounce. Additionally, the palladium resumed its upward trajectory with the precious metal 2.29% or $17.77 higher to $795.34 an ounce, up by over 16.60% in the year to date, atop a 20% rise in 2016.
Commenting on the palladium rally, Steve Hardcastle, head of client services at Sucden Financial, said: "After an explosive rally in early November which saw gains of over 25% spot palladium prices consolidated gains in December, revisiting support at $650 an ounce on a large liquidation of exchange traded funds' (ETFs) positions.
"However, it seems the shakeout is over and since the start of the year palladium prices have rallied strongly once more. After the correction investor sentiment has swung firmly positive once again and the fundamentals suggest palladium remains on track for a deficit for the year."