Crude oil futures turned lower on Thursday following their first gain in four sessions as traders awaited a fresh reading on the strength of U.S. economic growth.
- December Brent crude futures , the international benchmark, was down $1.71, or 1.9%, to $87.42 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
- West Texas Intermediate crude oil for December delivery was down %1.65, or 1.9%, at $83.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
- November gasoline fell 26 cents, or 1.1%, to $2.26 per gallon, while November heating oil was down 1.3% at $2.99 a gallon.
- November natural gas gained 0.2% to $3.01 per million British thermal units.
Oil prices have been moving lower following the release of Wednesday’s supply data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which reflected larger-than-expected increases in domestic crude and gasoline supplies.
But Thursday’s gross-domestic product data could add another catalyst to the selloff if it misses lofty expectations for a growth rate of 4.7% from a poll of economists conducted by The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, the conflict between Israel and Hamas could help to limit any further declines in oil, as speculators remain ready to jump in and buy due in part to the geopolitical uncertainty.
“On one hand you have an uncertain economic background which means weak demand compared to the supply available. On the other you have fears that supply could easily be interrupted should there be an escalation in hostilities across the Middle East. While oil appears to be trading in a minor downtrend, any downside ‘overshoots’ are being jumped on by bullish speculators,” said David Morrison, senior market analyst at Trade Nation.