Oil loses ground as traders fret about inflation

Melbourne — Oil prices dropped on Wednesday, after a mixed finish in the previous session, amid the worry that soaring coal and natural gas prices in China, India and Europe will stoke inflation and slow global growth, reducing oil demand.

A strong dollar, trading near a one-year high, also weighed on oil prices, as it makes oil more expensive for those holding other currencies.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 71c, or 0.9%, to $79.93 a barrel at 2.47am GMT after gaining 12c on Tuesday.

Brent crude futures fell 70c, or 0.8%, to $82.72 a barrel, extending a 23c loss on Tuesday.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday cut its growth outlooks for the US and other major economies on worries supply chain disruptions and cost pressures are holding back the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Commonwealth Bank analysts highlighted the IMF’s concern that “momentum has weakened and uncertainty has increased”.

However, oil watchers are still focused on whether soaring gas and coal prices will lead to more demand for oil products for power generation.

“There are growing expectations that the high prices for gas and thermal coal are likely to boost demand for alternative fuels such as diesel and fuel oil,” ANZ Research analysts said in a note.

The market is also awaiting US oil inventory data, delayed by a day following the Columbus Day holiday on Monday.

Analysts polled by Reuters estimate US crude inventories rose by 100,000 barrels in the week to October 8, which would mark a third straight week of increases.

They also estimated that petrol stockpiles rose about 100,000 barrels, while distillate inventories, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, dropped by about 1-million barrels.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, is due at 8.30pm GMT on Wednesday and from the US Energy Information Administration on Thursday.


Source: businesslive.co.za