Futures on US West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil edged down on Friday as optimism over China demand along with potential supply disruptions in Iraq was countered by uncertainty regarding US macro data due out later today.
China’s industrial activity has become a major driver of oil prices in recent weeks. The country’s manufacturing sector activity grew at a lesser rate in March compared to a solid expansion in February, data showed, but it still outstripped a consensus of analyst estimates.
Market players now turn their attention to the incoming US macro data set later in the day, including personal spending and PCE inflation.
“The market may maintain its rebound if today’s U.S. PCE offers positive signals to the markets that US inflation is expected to cool further,” Tina Teng, analyst at CMC Markets, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“Disappointing data may cause concerns about Fed policy again and cap the recent gains,” Teng said.
Yesterday WTI crude oil prices went up almost 2% as US crude inventories dropped to a 2-year low in the week to March 24th, while exports from Iraq’s Kurdistan area were halted.
Output at several oilfields in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq has been discontinued or reduced after a halt to the northern export pipeline.
As of 8:53 GMT on Friday WTI Crude Oil Futures were losing 0.62% to trade at $73.91 per barrel.
WTI Crude Oil Futures have risen 6.70% so far this week, following another 3.78% gain in the prior week.
At the same time, Brent Oil Futures were edging down 0.31% on the day to trade at $78.36 per barrel.
Brent Oil Futures have risen 3.92% so far this week, following another 2.77% gain in the previous week.