Oil rises as positive Chinese signals counter recession fears

Pump jacks operate at sunset in MidlandPump jacks operate at sunset in Midland, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Oil prices edged up on Monday in choppy trading as China's continuation of loose monetary policy was partly offset by fears that high inflation and energy costs could drag the global economy into recession.

Brent crude futures rose 97 cents, or 1.1%, to $92.60 a barrel by 1406 GMT, recovering from a 6.4% fall last week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 85 cents, or 1%, at $86.46 after a 7.6% decline last week.

"It's been another turbulent few weeks in oil markets from global growth concerns to super-sized OPEC+ output cuts and it seems they're yet to fully settle down," said Craig Erlam, senior markets analyst at OANDA.

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"Brent has seen lows of $82 and highs of $98 so perhaps what we're now seeing is it finding its feet somewhere in the middle."

China's central bank rolled over maturing medium-term policy loans on Monday while keeping the interest rate unchanged for a second month in a signal that the central bank would continue to maintain loose monetary policy.

Beijing will also greatly increase domestic energy supply capacity and step up risk controls in key commodities including coal, oil, gas and electricity, a senior National Energy Administration official said on Monday.

China will further increase reserve capacities for key commodities, another state official told a news conference in Beijing.

Chinese trade and third-quarter GDP data, along with September activity data, is due for release on Oct. 18 at 0200 GMT, with quarterly growth possibly rebounding from the previous quarter but annual growth threatening to be China's worst in almost half a century.

Meanwhile, a strong U.S. dollar and further interest rate increases from the U.S. Federal Reserve are helping to contain price gains.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on Friday said inflation had become "pernicious" and difficult to arrest, warranting continued "frontloading" through larger rate increases of three quarters of a percentage point.

Inflation in the United States remains stubborn and growth in European Union countries is expected to weaken to 0.5%, International Monetary Fund official Gita Gopinath said on Monday.

Oil supply is likely to remain tight after OPEC and allies including Russia pledged on Oct. 5 to cut output by 2 million barrels per day while a war of words between OPEC's de facto leader Saudi Arabia and the United States could foreshadow more volatility.

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RegisterAdditional reporting by Mohi Narayan in New Delhi and Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Susan Fenton, Kirsten Donovan, David Goodman and Ed Osmond

  • GalleryPipelines & TransportExxon's Russian oil output collapsed after rejecting local tanker insurance – sources, article with gallery10:02 AM UTC
  • CurrenciesExclusive: China's state banks seen acquiring dollars in swaps market to stabilise yuan, article with image4:51 AM UTC
  • OPECOPEC+ members endorse output cut after U.S. coercion accusation, article with image12:17 PM UTC
  • WorldEU Commission to propose potential 'dynamic' gas price cap, article with image12:40 PM UTC


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