Published: Thu, July 18, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Oil prices down on dwindling storm impact, Chinese economic data

Oil prices down on dwindling storm impact, Chinese economic data

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 7 cents, or 0.1%, at $66.55 a barrel by 0426 GMT after dropping earlier in the session.

And while Chinese data on Monday showed industrial output and retail data beat expectations, overall figures showed the country's slowest quarterly economic growth in decades. Both contracts last week posted their biggest weekly gains in three weeks on cuts in United States oil production and diplomatic tensions in the Middle East. Offshore oil producers and refiners along the coast are restoring operations after storm Barry was downgraded, with about 69% of crude output in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico still shuttered, down from a peak of 73% on Sunday.

Oil prices are higher over sharpening US crude inventories and concerns over US Gulf of Mexico production ahead of Tropical Storm Barry, as well as tensions in the Arabian Gulf after Iran's alleged attempt to block a British-owned tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Oil steadied after falling more than 3% overnight, with US crude trailing Brent after USA inventory data fell short of expectations, amid conflicting signals from the USA and Iran over the disputes that have roiled prices recently. The U.S. benchmark fell about 1% in the previous session.

First-half crude output rose 0.8 per cent from a year ago to 95.39 million tonnes.

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Also, 171 production platforms, or 26%, have not resumed operating as workers continue to return to offshore platforms, BSEE said.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose 5.7 million barrels, versus expectations for a 613,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

AAA released a study on Monday which showed the average gallon of gas in Florida cost $2.63 on Sunday, down four cents from the start of last week and around 20 cents lower than this time a year ago. Almost 73% of total Gulf of Mexico production was shut in (temporarily stopped), according to the Federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The U.S. drilling regulator said 1.1 million barrels per day of oil, or 58% of the region's total, remained shut.

Tension between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program kept the market on edge given the potential for a price spike should the situation deteriorate. "At the same time, the USA shale engine continues to give oil bulls a sleepless night".

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