Oil Prices Stable as US Inventory Falls and China Demand Faces Concerns

Oil prices stay stable with US inventory drop balancing worries about China's demand. Key reports from OPEC and IEA expected to offer further market insights.

Jul 10, 2024 - 00:46
Jul 10, 2024 - 00:46
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Oil Prices Stable as US Inventory Falls and China Demand Faces Concerns
Oil Prices Stable as US Inventory Falls and China Demand Faces Concerns

Oil prices held their ground as a significant drop in US crude inventories was balanced by persistent worries about demand from China and the uncertain timeline for future interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

Brent Crude Falls Below $85

Brent crude oil, a key global benchmark, slipped below $85 per barrel, marking a decline of more than 3% over the past three sessions. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude remained above $81. The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a reduction of 1.92 million barrels in US crude stockpiles last week. Significant drawdowns were also recorded at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub. This follows a substantial decrease of over 12 million barrels the week before.

Economic Signals from China Raise Concerns

In China, the world's largest oil importer, recent data underscored ongoing economic challenges. Factory-gate prices continued to fall, reflecting deflationary pressures. Previous indicators had already suggested a decrease in crude demand from some Chinese refiners.

Oil Prices Supported by Supply Cuts and Policy Expectations

Despite recent fluctuations, oil prices remain higher for the year. This resilience is largely due to supply cuts implemented by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+), as well as market expectations for a more relaxed US monetary policy. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stated on Tuesday that while signs of a weakening labor market are being monitored, policymakers require more evidence of slowing inflation before considering interest rate reductions.

Expert Insights and Market Reactions

"Recent concerns about Chinese oil demand have increased, and the latest inflation data, which came in weaker than expected, does little to alleviate these worries," said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING Groep NV. Patterson added that Powell's comments did not significantly alter market expectations for a potential rate cut in September.

Volatility Decreases Amid Steady Trading

The recent steadiness in crude trading has led to a decline in volatility indicators. Brent's implied volatility, which predicts likely movements in oil futures based on options pricing, is now at its lowest level in about six years.

Key Reports from OPEC and IEA

Traders are now eagerly awaiting the monthly report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is expected to provide further insights into the global oil market outlook. The International Energy Agency (IEA) will release its corresponding report the following day, offering additional perspectives on global energy dynamics.

Also Read: Russia's Weekly Oil Exports Drop Due to Port Maintenance

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