Oil futures traded higher Thursday, shaking off data that pointed to weak Chinese consumer demand to attempt a bounce after a two-day drop that left crude at its lowest since mid-July.
West Texas Intermediate crude
for December delivery
rose 54 cents, or 0.4%, to $75.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
January Brent crude
the global benchmark, was up 55 cents, or 0.9%, at $80.09 a barrel on ICE Futures.
Crude oil prices fell for a second straight session Wednesday, with WTI ending at its lowest since July 17 and Brent at its lowest since July 19. Weak China trade data earlier in the week was a spark for the selloff, analysts said, spurring worries about demand from the world’s second-largest crude consumer.
There are also indications of weak demand from the U.S., with the American Petroleum Institute reportedly seeing an 11.9 million barrel rise in U.S. crude inventories last week, which helped weigh on crude futures Wednesday, noted Charalampos Pissouros, senior investment analyst at XM, in a note. If confirmed by the Energy Information Administration, that would be the largest inventory build since February, but the EIA’s weekly report has been delayed until Nov. 15.
China’s consumer-price index fell 0.2% in October from a year earlier after staying flat in September, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. A Wall Street Journal poll of economists had tipped a 0.1% decrease. China’s producer-price index for October dropped 2.6% from a year earlier, compared with September’s 2.5% fall. Economists had expected PPI to fall 2.7% from a year earlier.
The data “revealed a disinflationary trend that could be the precursor to a slowdown in economic activity that may lead to reduced energy consumption,” said Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades, in a note.