Crude Prices Steady

Crude Prices SteadyCrude Prices Steady

Oil prices steadied on Tuesday after sharp falls the session before to the lowest in about three weeks as a stronger US dollar and a drop in Chinese refining runs hit the market.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures were up 3 cents, or 0.1%. That was just above the contract's 100-day moving average, briefly breached in the previous session. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 1 cent at $47.58 a barrel, CNBC reported.

Oil prices tumbled more than 2.5% on Monday in volatile trade, as the dollar strength and demand concerns in China, the world's second-largest oil user, weighed on sentiment. A stronger dollar tends to limit the demand for oil for buyers paying in other currencies.

Both Brent and WTI had reached two-month highs on Aug. 10.

"Stale speculative long positioning and a reluctance to hold unprofitable positions has been the main force behind the oil rally running out of steam over the last few sessions," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA.

Chinese oil refineries operated in July at their lowest daily rates since September 2016, official data showed on Monday, to ease brimming inventories as state-owned oil giants faced off independents in a retail gasoline price war.

Analysts said the drop was steeper than expected, exacerbating concerns that a glut of refined fuel products could weaken Chinese demand for oil.

The dollar firmed on Tuesday after North Korea's leader signaled that he would delay plans to fire a missile near Guam, further easing tensions and prompting investors to move back into riskier assets. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, climbed 0.4% on Monday and was up 0.1% on Tuesday.

An announcement by the Nigerian subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell that it had lifted a force majeure on Bonny Light crude exports also added to market surplus woes.

Oil prices had earlier on Monday been supported by reports that Libya's top oilfield had cut its output by 30% on security concerns. US crude stockpiles likely fell for the seventh consecutive week, along with a probable fall in distillate and gasoline inventories last week, a preliminary Reuter's poll showed.


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