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Oil edges higher Thursday morning as bulls attempt to salvage monthly gain – MarketWatch

(Joe Raedle/Getty)

William Watts, MarketWatch

EnergiesNet.com 08 31 2023

Oil futures edged higher early Thursday, with bulls looking to salvage a monthly gain for crude as signs of tight supplies provided support.

Price action

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery CL00, 0.81% CL.1, 0.80% CLV23, 0.80% was up 42 cents, or 0.5%, at $82.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Front-month WTI futures were down 0.2% for August through Wednesday’s close after back-to-back monthly gains.

  • October Brent crude BRNV23, 0.80%, the global benchmark, was up 45 cents, or 0.5%, at $86.31 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. The October contract will expire Thursday. The more actively traded November contract BRN00, 0.69% BRNX23, 0.69% gained 44 cents, or 0.5%, to $85.68 a barrel. Brent was holding on to a 0.3% August gain through Wednesday, which would be its third straight monthly advance.

Market drivers

A summer rally for oil, attributed in part to production cuts that saw Saudi Arabia voluntarily reduce production by 1 million barrels a day beginning in July, stalled in August on worries over the global economic outlook. Soft data out of China and concerns about the country’s ailing property sector raised doubts about demand from the world’s second-largest crude consumer.

Strong U.S. economic data, meanwhile, was no help for bulls, either, as it raised expectations for further tightening by the Federal Reserve. That lifted the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields, which can both weigh on commodity prices. Softer U.S. labor data this week, ahead of Friday’s key August employment report, saw yields and the dollar pull back.

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that U.S. commercial crude inventories fell by 10.6 million barrels for the week ending Aug. 25. That was the third straight weekly decline reported by the government agency and the largest since the week ended July 28.

U.S. commercial crude inventories have fallen by almost 34 million barrels over the past five weeks, Alex Kuptsikevich, senior market analyst at FxPro, said in a note.

Inventories are now only 1.1% higher than the same week the previous year, despite the release of over 100 million barrels, or 22%, of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve during this period, he wrote.

“Oil has risen in five of the last six trading sessions, gaining almost 4%. With a lower volatility, Crude may be preparing for a big move higher,” Kuptsikevich said.

A reversal to the upside after crude last week fell below support at $78 a barrel also coincided with the formation of a so-called golden cross, which occurs when the 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average from below, also helping to buoy market sentiment, he said.

marketwatch.com 08 31 2023

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