Oil prices inch higher with U.S. inflation, EU recession in focus

Oil prices inch higher with U.S. inflation, EU recession in focus

Investing.com- Oil prices rose slightly in Asian trade on Tuesday, extending gains after a report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries helped ease some concerns over slowing demand.

Crude prices also took mild support from the U.S. buying 1.2 million barrels of crude to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while reports of a stricter crackdown on Russian oil exports also signaled tighter markets. 

But gains in oil prices were limited as traders hunkered down before a key U.S. inflation report due later in the day, which is widely expected to determine the path of interest rates in the coming months. 

A euro zone reading on third-quarter economic growth was also on tap, especially as the bloc stands on the cusp of a recession.  

Brent oil rose 0.1% to $82.77 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.2% to $78.44 a barrel by 20:58 ET (05:58 GMT). 

Both contracts were nursing steep losses over the past three weeks, hit chiefly by concerns over sluggish demand after a string of weak economic readings from China, the U.S. and the euro zone. 

US CPI inflation, EU recession in focus 

Markets are now focused squarely on U.S. data due later in the day, after a string of hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials through the prior week.

Fed officials signaled that any further increases in interest rates will be largely contingent on inflation. Tuesday’s data is expected to show that CPI inflation eased in October after beating expectations for the past two months.  

Any signs of cooling inflation are likely to be positive for crude markets, given that they signal fewer chances that the Fed will hike interest rates next month. 

Before the U.S. data, euro zone data is also on Tuesday, with focus largely  on whether the bloc entered a technical recession in the third quarter. A string of weak economic indicators from Germany- the bloc’s biggest economy- had raised concerns over a potential recession this year. 

Euro zone GDP is expected to have shrunk 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the three months to October 30. 

OPEC downplays demand fears in monthly report 

The OPEC’s monthly report helped oil prices find a bottom this week, after the cartel blamed speculators for bringing down crude prices, and said that underlying demand remained strong. 

The cartel also hiked its demand forecast for the year and maintained its demand outlook for 2024, chiefly citing strong demand in China after the lifting of anti-COVID measures at the beginning of 2023. 

The report is the OPEC’s final word on oil markets before a Nov 26, where focus will be largely on whether major producers Russia and Saudi Arabia extend their current supply cuts into 2024.

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