Oil Prices Mixed Amid Bearish Signs
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil futures were mixed Thursday.
The November WTI contract price lost 19 cents during Thursday’s session to settle at $52.45 per barrel. The light crude marker traded within a range from $50.99 to $52.91.
Brent crude for December delivery posted a gain, albeit a slight one, Thursday. The contract added two cents to end the day at $57.71 per barrel.
Earlier Thursday, Bloomberg reported that both contracts were moving downward amid bearish U.S. commercial crude inventory reports. Moreover, the news agency noted that a global economic recession is appearing more likely.
“There’s little comfort for oil bulls these days, whether in macro data or barrel count,” Barani Krishnan, senior commodities analyst with Investing.com, told Rigzone. “A weaker-than-expected survey of U.S. manufacturing was the latest blow to those long on crude on Monday.”
The survey that Krishnan referenced, the latest Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), showed that economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in September. ISM’s monthly survey of U.S. supply executives set the PMI at 47.8 percent, down from 49.1 percent in August. According to ISM, a PMI greater than 42.9 percent over a period of time signifies an overall expanding economy.
Krishnan added that Saudi Arabia’s recent success at restoring lost oil production has removed some volatility from price movements.
“With the impact of the Sept. 14 Saudi attack almost having totally evaporated from oil markets, crude prices are in limbo again, with bulls trying to cling to anything and everything to stay afloat in the higher $50-per-barrel range,” he said.
Like the Brent, reformulated gasoline (RBOB) finished the day higher. November RBOB settled just under $1.56 per gallon, reflecting a one-cent gain.
Also rising Thursday was the November Henry Hub natural gas contract, which added eight cents to close at $2.33.
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