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Oil prices creep higher with CPI data, OPEC report on tap


Oil prices creep higher with CPI data, OPEC report on tap By Investing.com

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AuthorAmbar WarrickCommodities

Published Mar 11, 2024 10:24PM ET

© Reuters.

Investing.com– Oil prices rose slightly in Asian trade on Tuesday, with markets remaining largely cautious before key U.S. inflation data that is likely to factor into interest rates, while focus was also on an upcoming monthly report from the OPEC.

Brent oil futures expiring in May rose 0.3% to $82.43 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.3% to $77.77 a barrel by 22:01 ET (02:01 GMT). 

Crude markets grapple with mixed demand, supply cues 

Crude prices remained largely rangebound in recent sessions, amid conflicting signals on demand and supply. Brent and WTI futures have traded within the $85 a barrel to $75 a barrel range for the past three weeks. 

China was a key point of contention for oil markets, as demand in the world’s largest crude importer appeared to be deteriorating with little hopes for immediate improvement. Beijing set a middling growth target for 2024, and also offered scant cues on more stimulus measures. 

Concerns over China were somewhat offset by expectations of increased  U.S. crude demand, as several refiners in the country began increasing production after an extended break. But the country’s crude production remained at record highs of over 13 million barrels per day. 

Markets were now awaiting a monthly report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for more cues on demand, especially after the cartel said it will maintain its current pace of production cuts until end-June. 

On the supply front, signs of little deescalation in the Israel-Hamas war, especially as ceasefire talks fell through, pointed to continued supply risks in the Middle East. 

Clashes with the Yemeni Houthi group, in the Red Sea, also presented continued disruptions in shipping activity in the region. 

A monthly report from the International Energy Agency is also due later this week. 

US CPI awaited for interest rate cues 

Oil markets were also largely cautious ahead of key U.S. consumer price index data, which is due later on Tuesday.

The reading is expected to show inflation remained sticky and well above the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual target in February. 

Any signs of an upside in inflation are likely to draw a more hawkish outlook from the Fed, keeping U.S. interest rates higher for longer. Fed Chair Jerome Powell had warned last week that any potential interest rate cuts in 2024 will be largely dependent on the path of inflation. 

Oil prices creep higher with CPI data, OPEC report on tap

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