Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeMarketOil ticks lower, headed for weekly drop, as traders await clarity on...

Oil ticks lower, headed for weekly drop, as traders await clarity on China demand

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Oil futures edged lower Friday, on track for weekly losses, as investors awaited clarity on Chinese demand in the wake of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Price action
  • West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery


    fell 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $75.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with the U.S. benchmark on track for a 4.9% weekly fall.

  • April Brent crude

    the global benchmark, was off 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $82.10 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, down 5% for the week.

  • March gasoline futures
    fell 0.2% to $2.448 a gallon, while March heating oil
    slipped 0.1% to $2.895 a gallon.

  • March natural gas
    ticked down 0.1% to $2.453 per million British thermal units, down nearly 14% for the week and more than 40% so far in 2023.

Market drivers

Crude prices felt pressure this week as U.S. data showed another large build in inventories of crude and fuel products, alongside disappointing economic data that underlined worries about a slowdown, said Carsten Fritsch, strategist at Commerzbank, in a Friday note.

“The inventory build since the beginning of the year amounts to 32 million barrels. Gasoline stocks have recently risen for four weeks in a row by a total of 12 million barrels. Distillate stocks registered their first weekly increase this year,” Fritsch wrote. “Stocks normally decline at this time of the year. The U.S. oil market was amply supplied in January, in other words.”

After this week’s fall, investors will focus on the extent of a demand recovery by China as well as the impact of a European Union embargo on imports of Russian fuel products due to take effect on Feb. 5 and an anticipated deal on price caps will play out, Fritsch said.


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