Oil dips on rising US crude inventories, darkens economic outlook

US crude stocks rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week to August 10 to 410.8 million barrels, private industry group the American Petroleum Institute said. (Reuters)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Oil dips on rising US crude inventories, darkens economic outlook

  • US crude stocks rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week to August 10 to 410.8 million barrels
  • Sentiment was also clouded by a darkening economic outlook which could start impacting oil demand

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell on Wednesday, pulled down by a report of increased US crude inventories and as a darkening economic outlook stoked expectations of lower fuel demand.
Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $72.33 per barrel at 0408 GMT, down by 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $66.79 per barrel.
US crude stocks rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week to Aug. 10, to 410.8 million barrels, private industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 1.6 million barrels, the API said.
“Oil prices ... fell after the API inventory data showed an unexpected crude build last week,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
Official US fuel inventory data is due to be published later on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.
Sentiment was also clouded by a darkening economic outlook which could start impacting oil demand, traders said.
The OECD’s composite leading indicator, which covers the western advanced economies plus China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa, peaked in January but has since fallen and slipped below trend in May and June.
World trade volume growth also peaked in January at almost 5.7 percent year-on-year, but nearly halved to less than 3 percent by May, according to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
BMI Research said oil markets would “struggle for direction, as uncertainty around both the impact on supply from the Iranian sanctions and escalating trade tensions between the US and China persists.”


Chinese president Xi urges financial risk prevention while seeking stable growth

Updated 32 min 45 sec ago
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Chinese president Xi urges financial risk prevention while seeking stable growth

  • China’s economy is growing at its slowest pace in almost 30 years
  • Preventing and resolving financial risks, especially systemic financial risks, is a fundamental task

BEIJING: China should seek stable development of its economy while not forgetting to fend off risks to its financial system, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, state news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday.
China’s economy is growing at its slowest pace in almost 30 years, spurring policymakers to bolster growth by easing credit conditions and cutting taxes.
“It is necessary to focus on preventing risks on the basis of steady growth, while strengthening the countercyclical adjustment of fiscal policy and monetary policy and ensuring that the economy operates in a reasonable range,” Xi said.
Preventing and resolving financial risks, especially systemic financial risks, is a fundamental task, the agency cited Xi as telling a study session for senior Communist Party officials on Friday.
On Wednesday, Premier Li Keqiang reiterated that China would not resort to “flood-like” stimulus such as it unleashed in past downturns.
But after a spate of weak data, investors are asking if Beijing needs to speed or boost support to reduce the risk of a sharper slowdown.
Until now, China has refrained from cutting benchmark interest rates to spur the slowing economy, which would ease financing costs but risk adding to a mountain of debt.
To free up more funds for lending to small and private businesses, the central bank has cut the reserves that banks need to set aside five times in the past year.
Last month, Chinese banks made the most new loans on record, a total of 3.23 trillion yuan ($481 billion). A central bank official said previously that no credit floodgate had been opened, and the lending jump showed recent easing steps were working.
China’s financial sector must serve the real economy, Xi said, but stable growth and risk prevention must be balanced.