Oil futures edged higher on Tuesday, with prices looking to recoup some of their sharp losses from a day earlier tied to worries over the global economic outlook after weak economic data out of China.
- West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery CL.1, -2.81% CL00, -2.81% CLU22, -2.81% rose 78 cents, or 0.9%, to $90.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after losing 2.9% on Monday.
- October Brent crude BRN00, -2.67% BRNV22, -2.67%, the global benchmark, was up 52 cents, or nearly 0.6%, at $95.62 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, a day after losing 3.1%.
- Back on Nymex, September gasoline RBU22, -1.73% was little changed at $2.9522 a gallon, while September heating oil HOU22, -0.22% was up 1.9% at $3.5066 a gallon.
- September natural-gas futures NGU22, +5.00% rose 5.8% to $9.234 per million British thermal units.
Crude prices headed higher on Tuesday, a day after posting losses of roughly 3% as weak economic data from China raised fears that a slowing global economy will reduce demand for energy products.
Prices are bouncing after the strong sell-off Monday, Kansas City energy team analysts from StoneX wrote in a Tuesday newsletter. “Selling in crude oil has not been limited to the front month,” so the market may be more well supplied than originally thought.
Early this week, China’s industrial production and retail sales came in lower than the previous month and shy of analysts’ forecasts, while the People’s Bank of China delivered a surprise interest rate cut.
“The unexpected move gave the impression that it is alarmed about the extent of economic weakening,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodity analyst at Commerzbank, in a note. “In our view, problems in the real-estate sector, plus the government’s zero-COVID strategy, are likely to continue to weigh on the economy in the short to medium term, meaning that oil prices will probably face persistent headwind from this side.”
Still, U.S. data released Tuesday was upbeat, showing that industrial production rose 0.6% in July, more than the expected 0.3% increase, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal.
Investors were also tracking developments around efforts to revive Iran’s nuclear accord. Tehran responded to a draft agreement presented by the European Union, indicating it had reservations and signaling talks were likely to extend beyond what had been described as a Monday deadline, Politico reported.
“However, even if a new agreement were to be signed, it would presumably take some time before sanctions could be fully lifted. When the 2015 agreement was reached, it took roughly half a year for this to happen. Iran’s oil production then increased by around 700,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2016,” Fritsch wrote.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly petroleum supply data early Wednesday.
On average, analysts expect the report to show declines of 1.7 million barrels each in commercial crude and gasoline inventories for the week ended Aug. 12, along with a climb of about 400,000 barrels for distillate stockpiles, according to a survey conducted by S&P Global Commodity Insights.
Hear from top Wall Street energy analysts at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 in New York. RBC’s Helima Croft will be there.