Oil Futures Settle Higher For 3rd Straight Day

Crude oil prices climbed higher on Friday, extending recent gains, as data showing a drop fall in U.S. crude inventories continued to support the commodity.

Hopes of a stimulus from China, and data showing a slowdown in U.S. consumer price growth contributed as well to the rise in oil prices.

Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) earlier in the week showed a 9.6M bpd draw and robust demand signs everywhere.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended higher by $0.78 or about 1.1% at $70.64 a barrel. However, WTI Crude futures shed about 12% in the January – June period, and lost more than 6% in the April – June quarter.

Brent crude futures were up $0.94 or 1.26% at $75.45 a barrel a little while ago.

Official data showed earlier today that manufacturing activity in China shrank for a third straight month in June, albeit at a slower pace.

The manufacturing PMI rose to 49.0 in June from 48.8 a month ago -matching expectations. The non-manufacturing sector continued to expand in June, with the corresponding index falling to 53.2 from 54.5 in the previous month.

Data from the Commerce Department showed the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 3.8% in May from 4.3% in April. The slowdown surprised economists, who had expected growth to accelerate to 4.6%.

The readings on consumer price inflation, which are said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, were included in the Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending.

While economists generally still expect the Fed to raise interest rates by another quarter point next week, the data has added to optimism the central bank will not follow through with additional rate hikes.

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