Home Investing News Oil prices dip amid China concerns, tighter supply outlook

Oil prices dip amid China concerns, tighter supply outlook


Oil prices dip amid China concerns, tighter supply outlook By Investing.com

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AuthorAmbar WarrickCommodities

Published Mar 05, 2024 08:56PM ET

© Reuters.

Investing.com– Oil prices fell slightly in Asian trade on Wednesday amid persistent concerns over slowing demand this year, although steady production cuts by the OPEC+ and little de-escalation in the Israel-Hamas war heralded tighter supplies.

Prices were nursing steep losses from the prior session after top importer China unveiled a largely underwhelming economic growth target for 2024, potentially heralding weak crude demand in the country.

But steeper losses in crude were held back by some signs of tighter supplies. Ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas failed to make headway this week, pointing to continued disruptions in the Middle East and oil supplies in the region. 

Industry data showing a smaller-than-expected build in U.S. inventories also helped limit losses in oil prices, as did recent signals from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies that it will maintain its current pace of production cuts until end-June. 

Brent oil futures expiring in May fell 0.2% to $81.88 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.2% to $77.27 a barrel by 20:47 ET (01:47 GMT). Both contracts fell about 1% each on Tuesday. 

US inventories grow less than expected- API

Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that U.S. crude inventories grew a substantially less than expected 0.4 million barrels in the week to March 1, compared expectations of 2.6 million barrels and the prior week’s build of 8.2 million barrels. 

The trend comes as more U.S. refineries restart production after an extended winter and maintenance break- a trend that is expected to further tighten crude markets in the world’s biggest fuel consumer. 

The API data usually heralds a similar trend in official inventory data, which is due later in the day. But U.S. crude inventories have also seen five straight weeks of outsized builds. 

Analysts at ANZ said that increased refinery action in the U.S. was expected to tighten markets in the coming months, while the “tightness is exacerbated by the OPEC production cuts, which are slowly making their way through the market.”

Powell testimony, payrolls data in focus 

Broader risk-off sentiment in financial markets also weighed on crude. U.S. stock indexes tumbled on Tuesday in anticipation of more cues on interest rates from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week.

Powell is set to offer a two-day testimony on Wednesday and Thursday, with analysts expecting the Fed Chair to maintain his hawkish tilt.

Beyond Powell, key nonfarm payrolls data on Friday is expected to offer more cues on the U.S. economy.

Oil prices dip amid China concerns, tighter supply outlook

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