Oil futures climbed Thursday, shaking off data that pointed to weak Chinese consumer demand to finish higher after a two-day drop that left crude at its lowest since mid-July.
West Texas Intermediate crude
for December delivery
rose 41 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $75.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
January Brent crude
the global benchmark, added 47 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $80.01 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
tacked on 1.5% to $2.16 a gallon, while December heating oil
lost 1.1% to $2.72 a gallon.
Natural gas for December delivery
settled at $3.04 per million British thermal units, down 2.1%.
Oil-market fundamentals do not point to an impending supply crisis, though risks of supply disruption are still higher than they were prior to the Hamas attack on Israel, said Jim Burkhard, vice president and head of research for Oil Markets, Energy and Mobility, at S&P Global Commodity Insights.
“The Israel-Hamas war certainly altered political trends in the Middle East, but it’s ability to impact oil market fundamentals will be limited so long as the war is contained,” he said in emailed market commentary.
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.
Read: Why oil prices just dropped to their lowest since July
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 was delayed until Nov. 15. The EIA’s weekly natural-gas supply report was also delayed by a week to Nov. 16.
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.
In other news, the Russian government ahs informed fuel producers that it plans to end all remaining bans on exports of diesel and gasoline, Reuters reported citing three industry sources.
The original ban on fuel exports was placed on Sept. 21, “allowing domestic supply and price to stabilize,” said StoneX’s Kansas City energy team, led by Alex Hodes, in a Thursday note.
On Oct. 6, the Russian government eased the ban, allowing the export of diesel by pipeline but kept all gasoline export bans in place,” they said, noting that diesel is the country’s biggest oil product export.