Futures Movers: Oil prices post first weekly loss since June


Oil futures ended higher Friday, but tallied their first weekly loss in eight weeks as worries about Chinese demand, rising bond yields and a stronger dollar took a toll.

Price action

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery CL00, +0.29% CL.1, +1.09% CLU23, +1.09% climbed 86 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $81.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with the U.S. benchmark posting weekly fall of 2.3%, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
  • October Brent crude BRN00, -0.08% BRNV23, -0.08%, the global benchmark, added 68 cents, or 0.8%, at $84.80 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, also down 2.3% for the week.
  • September gasoline RBU23, -0.28% lost nearly 0.1% to $2.82 a gallon, down 4.8% for the week, and September heating oil HOU23, +2.22% settled at $3.16 a gallon, up 2.1% for the session, and up 1.2% for the week.
  • September natural gas NGU23, -2.06% fell by 2.7% to $2.55 per million British thermal units, for a weekly loss of 7.9%.

Market drivers

Renewed worries about China’s property sector alongside a continued weak run of economic data from the world’s second-largest crude oil consumer has been blamed for oil’s pullback. WTI and Brent oil futures marked their first weekly losses since June.

There continues to be a “battle royale between supply and demand, with OPEC+ cutting production, led by Saudi Arabia, while Chinese economic woes act as a counterweight,” Matt Smith, lead analyst for the Americas at Kpler, told MarketWatch.

“Saudi Arabia continues to slash supplies to global markets in an effort to flush out bearish speculators and support prices,” he said, while “Chinese economic woes continue to provide gale-force headwinds to oil demand growth.” 

See: Global investors expect China to deliver a massive fiscal stimulus. Here’s why it may never arrive.

Analysts have argued, however, that underneath the hood, China’s oil-consumption figures have held up.

In a Friday note, Michael Tran, commodity strategist at RBC Capital Markets, said that “while Chinese macro data has underwhelmed over recent weeks, end-use refined product data looks far from terrible.”

“Chinese product inventories are tight and although diesel inventories have recently rebounded from the recent low, gasoline stocks have fallen for 13 consecutive weeks. Demand has been strong enough to keep product inventories subdued even with refinery utilization surging since exiting turnaround season in June,” he said.

China’s refinery run rate is clocking in at an annualized high of 14.9 million barrels a day, or mbd, an increase of 1.8 mbd year over year, Tran noted. Chinese refined product exports have remained relatively subdued, he said, with July flows tracking modestly higher on a monthly basis and softer gasoline exports offset by a moderate rise in gasoil and jet-fuel exports.

In the oil market, “if you’re a hedger, its best to worry about a price spike because if the Chinese fears level out and the focus switches back to the supply side, or lack thereof, it could get ugly very quickly,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst The Price Futures Group.

Read: Atlantic hurricane season ready to rile up storm clouds for oil and gas

Also see: Baker Hughes data show a decline in the active U.S. oil-drilling rig count

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury yields have broken out to the upside, with the 10-year yield  BX:TMUBMUSD10Y  rising earlier this week above 4.25% to a 15-year high. The dollar has rallied alongside, with the ICE U.S. Dollar Index  DXY up 0.5% this week and around 1.5% so far in August.

A stronger dollar can be a negative for commodities priced in the unit by making them more expensive to users of other currencies.

This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.

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