Crude futures steady after fall on US oil products stocks gain

Oil prices steadied on Thursday after falling in the previous session when official data showed US stockpiles of products like gasoline rose sharply last week, suggesting weak demand during the peak driving season. Brent crude futures were up 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $63.80 a barrel by 0237 GMT. They fell 1.1 percent on Wednesday. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 1 cent at $56.77. The US benchmark dropped 1.5 percent in the previous session. Oil prices have fallen this week as worries over a Middle East conflict have eased, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has resumed after a storm and worries have emerged over Chinese economic growth. The “easing of tensions between the US and Iran, mixed Chinese growth data and storm-hit operations getting back online are all pressuring oil prices downward,” said Alfonso Esparza senior market analyst at OANDA. Japan’s exports fell for a seventh straight month in June, with shipments to China falling more than 10 percent, while Japanese manufacturers’ business confidence fell to a three-year low. On the oil supply front, data on Wednesday from the US Energy Information Administration showed a larger-than-expected drawdown in crude stockpiles last week, but traders focused on large builds in refined product inventories dragging prices down. US crude inventories fell 3.1 million barrels, the EIA said, more than analysts’ forecasts for a decrease of 2.7 million barrels.

DailyTimes, 18 Jul, 2019

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