subscribe Support our award-winning journalism. The Premium package (digital only) is R30 for the first month and thereafter you pay R129 p/m now ad-free for all subscribers.
Subscribe now
Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Tokyo/Singapore — Oil prices edged down in Asian trade on Tuesday, after posting gains in the previous session, as markets remained cautious about global demand growth prospects amid the expectation of stronger supply.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures slipped 13c, or 0.15%, at $84.12 a barrel at 3.16am GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 14c, or 0.17%, at $80.19 a barrel.

Both benchmarks gained around 2% on Monday, closing at their highest since April.

“The oil market shifted its focus back to fundamentals, which have been soft for some time,” said BoFA commodity and derivatives strategist Francisco Blanch in a client note, adding that global crude oil inventories and refined product storage in the US and Singapore, among other places, was higher.

Meanwhile, global oil demand growth decelerated to 890,000 barrels a day year-on-year in the first quarter, and data suggests consumption growth likely slowed further in the second quarter, he said in the note.

China’s oil refinery output slipped 1.8% from year-ago levels in May, statistics bureau data showed on Monday, as refiners undertook planned maintenance overhauls and processing margins were pressured by rising crude costs.

Markets were also looking out for further clues on interest rates, and how the US demand situation would pan out, as several US Federal Reserve representatives will be speaking on Tuesday.

Some analysts remained bullish on the price effect of an extension by the Opec+ group of supply cuts.

“The latest guidance provided by Opec+, as well as their unchanged 2.25-million barrels a day demand growth outlook, signals a stagnation in oil supply growth for 2024 and an apparent downside risk to production in 2025,” said Patricio Valdivieso, Rystad Energy vice-president and global lead of crude trading analysis.

“Under these conditions — and the disconnect between the Opec+ demand outlook and all other agencies — it is hard to remain fully bearish when global oil supply growth appears decimated,” he said.

Investor sentiment has been recovering since Opec+ surprised players by announcing plans to start increasing production from the start of October.

Hedge funds and other money managers bought the equivalent of 80 million barrels in the six most important petroleum futures and options contracts over the seven days ending on June 11. Purchases reversed about 40% of the 194-million barrels sold the week after the Opec+ announcement.

Recent rebounds in complex refining margins, particularly in Europe and Asia, were also supportive to markets, said Sparta Commodities analyst Neil Crosby.

Refining margins at a typical complex refinery in Singapore averaged at $3.60 a barrel for June so far, compared with $2.66 a barrel in May.

Reuters

subscribe Support our award-winning journalism. The Premium package (digital only) is R30 for the first month and thereafter you pay R129 p/m now ad-free for all subscribers.
Subscribe now

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.