Crude Oil Futures
Crude oil futures rise on US inventory data on 20 January 2017 Reuters

Oil futures rallied on Friday (20 January 2017) as data pointed to a decline in US inventories, while gold bounced back above the psychological $1,200 (£972, €1,124) an ounce level as Donald Trump headed for the White House.

At 3:48pm GMT, the Brent front month futures contract was up by 2.84%, or $1.53 at $55.69 a barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up by 2.94%, or $1.51, at $52.88 a barrel, after the International Energy Agency said output cuts by oil cartel Opec won't necessarily trigger a "bonanza" of US shale supply.

Earlier in the session, the US Energy Information Administration said supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma – the country's oil hub – fell by 1.27m barrels last week, even though the agency reported that nationwide stockpiles rose 2.35m barrels.

However, analysts at Vienna-based JBC Energy pointed to the prospect of rising Iranian exports to temper expectations. "Oil storage facilities are also expanding in Iran, with 10m barrels of crude storage currently under construction at the port.

"This speaks towards Iran pushing ahead quite strongly to maximise oil production and, with the rapid ramp up following the lifting of sanctions highlighting the priority Iran has put on its upstream sector, the longer-term goal of 5.8 million barrels per day [bpd] by 2021 may be in closer reach than many currently anticipate. As it stands, we expect Iran's crude supply to grow a further 8.7% y-o-y in 2017, to average above 4.2 million bpd."

Away from the oil market, precious metals re-entered positive territory ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th US president. At 4:01pm GMT, the Comex gold futures contract for February delivery was up by 0.13%, or $1.60, at $1,203.10 an ounce.

Jameel Ahmad, vice-president of corporate development and market research at FXTM, said: "[Donald] Trump has changed the market sentiment towards the dollar over the last few days. The markets took his comment that "the dollar is too strong" seriously, and many traders responded with defensive positions. We've seen this in the number of clients trading long on gold, a safe-haven investment.

"And it's not all down to Trump. The impending triggering of Article 50 by the UK, not to mention uncertainty about US financial policy going forward, has combined to turn the normally quiet January into an exciting trading month."

Elsewhere, Comex silver rose by 0.25%, or four cents, at $17.05 an ounce, and spot platinum was up by 1.44%, or $13.80, to $973.25 an ounce. Additionally, the palladium rally continued for yet another session, with the precious metal up by 3.79% or $28.57 rise to $782.70 an ounce, up by more than 10% in the year to date, atop a 20% rise in 2016.