Oil prices faced a minor decline on Monday, driven by investor concerns surrounding China’s economic growth trajectory and the potential impact of further U.S. interest rate increases on fuel demand.
Brent crude saw a modest decrease of 8 cents, equivalent to 0.1%, bringing it to a value of $84.40 per barrel as of 0330 GMT. Similarly, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude exhibited a 5-cent decline, also amounting to 0.1%, placing it at $79.78 per barrel.
Both Brent and WTI experienced a second consecutive week of losses, following statements from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Powell’s comments hinted at the likelihood of the U.S. central bank raising interest rates further in an effort to mitigate persistent inflation levels.
Initial trading in Asian markets saw oil prices rise before retracting gains. China’s decision to halve the stamp duty on stock trading intended to boost struggling markets, temporarily contributed to an increase in
Tony Sycamore, a market analyst at IG, noted that the recent announcements, including a modest interest rate cut by the Chinese central bank, were viewed by investors as insufficient measures to counteract concerns about China’s economic performance.
China’s Economic Outlook:
Anticipated economic data, specifically the upcoming release of China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), is expected to paint a grim picture for the world’s second-largest economy. Sycamore further predicted that the PMI would likely indicate a fifth consecutive month of contraction.
U.S. Economic Landscape:
Despite the Federal Reserve’s firm stance on rate hikes, CMC markets analyst Tina Teng suggested that the energy markets found some relief due to the potential for a soft landing of the U.S. economy.
Energy Sector Developments:
In August, energy firms in the United States decreased the number of active oil rigs for the ninth consecutive month, according to a report from Baker Hughes.
Tropical Storm Idalia formed in the Caribbean and has the potential to intensify into a hurricane, potentially impacting Florida. While oil and gas centers in the Gulf are expected to remain unaffected, IG’s Sycamore stated that the storm could lead to temporary power outages, which might bolster short-term support for oil prices.
Supply and Demand Dynamics:
Despite earlier concerns about tightening supply due to declining oil inventories and OPEC+ supply cuts, the potential easing of sanctions on Iran and Venezuela has diminished this narrative, as highlighted by ANZ Research in a note.