Oil holds near $47 as investors weigh signals on China’s growth

Oil held near $47 a barrel as investors assessed data showing the health of the economy in China, the world’s second-biggest crude user, reported Bloomberg.

Futures fell 0.5 percent in New York after advancing 1.9 percent Friday. While China’sgross domestic product growth beat estimates at 6.9 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, that’s still at the slowest pace since 2009. Separate data showed industrial production missed forecasts. Rigs targeting oil in the U.S. fell for the seventh week to the lowest in five years, according to Baker Hughes Inc.

Oil has fluctuated on signs the market remains oversupplied after trading above $50 a barrel earlier this month for the first time since July. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries continues to pump more than its collective quota while U.S. stockpiles remain about 100 million barrels higher than the five-year seasonal average.

 “There is growth there in China,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. “It’s in a rebalancing phase and it’s likely the low growth by China’s standards will persist for some time. The miss on industrial production is probably tempering any early optimistic reaction to the other numbers.”

West Texas Intermediate for November delivery, which expires Tuesday, was at $47.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 22 cents, at 12:57 p.m. Singapore time. The contract gained 88 cents on Friday. The volume of all futures traded was about 7 percent below the 100-day average. The more-active December future fell 22 cents to $47.50.

Factory Output

Brent for December settlement was 21 cents lower at $50.25 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $2.74 to WTI for the same month.

China’s industrial output in September rose 5.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with the median estimate in the survey of 6 percent. Retail sales increased 10.9 percent, versus a 10.8 percent gain forecast for the month.

Rigs targeting oil in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, fell by 10 to 595, adding to the 70 sidelined in the previous six weeks, Baker Hughes Inc. said on its website Friday. The number of active rigs have declined by 62 percent since December.

Saudi Arabia’s commercial crude stockpiles in August climbed to the highest level since at least 2002, according to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative. Inventories rose to 326.6 million barrels, from 320.2 million in July.

The world’s largest oil exporter is delaying payments to government contractors as the slump in oil prices pushes the country into a deficit for the first time since 2009, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Companies working on infrastructure projects have been waiting six months or more for payments as the government seeks to preserve cash, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.


Monitoring Report

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