Friday, December 8, 2023

Oil steady as rate hike talk counters China demand hopes

Oil steady as rate hike talk counters China demand hopes
October 21, 2022 Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices were near flat on Friday, as optimism about a possible rise in energy demand in China faded and the market weighed concerns about steep inflation.

Brent crude futures lost 12 cents to trade at $92.26 a barrel by 0219 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate futures fell 4 cents to $84.47 a barrel.

Brent was on track for a weekly gain of 0.7%, while WTI was expected to fall 1.3% following a rollover in front-month contracts.

To fight inflation, the US Federal Reserve is trying to slow the economy and will keep raising its short-term rate target, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said on Thursday. 

"With several key Fed members taking turns at the hawk's pulpit this week arguing for even higher interest rates, it blunted optimism from China's reduced quarantine hopes," Stephen Innes, managing director at SPI Asset Management said in a note.

"Everyone is pining for a China-reopening-driven commodity boost, but we are not there yet."

Beijing is considering cutting the quarantine period for visitors to seven days from 10 days, Bloomberg news reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. There has been no official confirmation from Beijing.

China, the world's largest crude importer, has stuck to strict COVID-19 curbs this year, which weighed heavily on business and economic activity, lowering demand for fuel.

A looming European Union ban on Russian crude and oil products, as well as the output cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, have supported prices recently.

OPEC+ agreed on a production cut of 2 million barrels per day in early October.