Fading balance prospects drag on oil prices

Oil prices resume push into red territory after the European statistics office reports a decline in industrial productivity. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (UPI) — Already rattled by end-of-balance sentiments, crude oil prices continued drifting lower in early Wednesday trading on weak European economic data.

Reports this week from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency erased prospects that the gap between global demand for energy and supplies was narrowing and pushed oil prices lower this week.

Global oil demand was trimmed, while production from some parts of the world proved more resistant to current oil prices than previously estimated. That’s in stark contrast to early-year sentiments from IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol that balance was returning.

Crude oil prices moved erratically in Tuesday trading, but shifted to negative territory at the start of the trading day Wednesday. The price for Brent crude oil was down 1.2 percent to open the day at $46.55 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for oil, was off 1 percent to start trading in New York at $44.41 per barrel.

Data released from the American Petroleum Institute show a gain of 1.4 million barrels in U.S. crude oil storage last week, against the previous historic draw sparked in part by curbed production in response to Tropical Storm Hermine.

Prices may be influenced later in the trading day after more formal data is released from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Morning prices were moved in part by data from the European Union that indicated a downturn in industrial productivity. For the 19 countries that use the euro currency, the region’s statistics office said seasonally adjusted industrial production declined 1.1 percent between June and July.

European economic policy makers are charting a future course without the United Kingdom. In a speech Wednesday evening, Sabine Lautenschlager, a board member at the European Central Bank, said it was too early to draw any conclusions about the impact of the so-called Brexit.

“The impact seems to be smaller than many had feared,” she said. “But it is in everyone’s interest to pass through this phase of political uncertainty as soon as possible.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here