Get 40% Off
🚀 AI-picked stocks soar in May. PRFT is +55%—in just 16 days! Don’t miss June’s top picks.Unlock full list

Oil prices nearly flat as market weighs Chinese demand, North America supply increase

Published 03/06/2024, 08:50 PM
Updated 03/07/2024, 03:01 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Miniatures of oil barrels and a rising stock graph are seen in this illustration taken January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

By Nicole Jao

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Oil prices were little changed on Thursday as markets weighed new economic data from China against increasing supply from the Western Hemisphere.

Brent crude futures settled flat at $82.96 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures ended 20 cents lower at $78.93.

China's import and export growth beat estimates, suggesting global trade is turning a corner in a positive signal for policymakers as they try to shore up economic recovery.

But even as China posted a 5.1% rise in crude imports during the first to months of the year from a year earlier, overall imports have been falling, continuing a trend of softening purchases by the world's biggest buyer.

"The import numbers were down substantially because they are not willing to pay full price for barrels," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho. The lack of Chinese demand failed to impress the market, he said.

The global oil market is relatively well supplied with demand growth slowing and supply increasing from the Americas, the head of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) oil markets and industry division told Reuters on Thursday.

Oil inventories in the U.S. rose last week for a sixth week in a row.

"The market continues to be pulled around demand concerns in China, on the one hand, and increasing supply out of the Western Hemisphere," said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.

The markets were bracing for the likelihood that the Federal Reserve could delay its first U.S. interest rate cut to the second half of this year, which boosted the dollar, according to a Reuters poll of foreign exchange strategists.

A strong greenback dents demand for dollar-denominated oil among buyers using other currencies.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Miniatures of oil barrels and a rising stock graph are seen in this illustration taken January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

On Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank still expects to reduce its benchmark interest rate this year. On Thursday, the European Central Bank kept its main interest rate unchanged at 4.0% as expected.

Fuel consumption in India, the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer, rose 5.7% year-on-year in February, aided by strong factory activity.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.