Oil futures were mixed Thursday, attempting to stabilize a day after a jump in U.S. crude and gasoline inventories sent benchmarks to their lowest levels since February.
West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery
rose 37 cents, or 0.4%, at $91.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. benchmark on Wednesday posted its lowest close since Feb. 10.
October Brent crude
edged down 10 cents, or 0.1%, to $96.68 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, after ending the previous session at its lowest since Feb. 21.
Back on Nymex, September gasoline
fell 0.4% to $2.90 a gallon, while September heating oil
rose 0.3% to $3.424 a gallon.
September natural gas
gained 1.1% to trade at $8.357 per million British thermal units.
Oil fell sharply in volatile trade Wednesday, giving up early gains seen in the wake of a meager increase in output by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies — a group known as OPEC+ — to tumble sharply after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude supplies were up 4.5 million barrels in the week ended July 29, while gasoline supplies rose 200,000 barrels.
The price action shows that “demand concerns are now the dominant influence on the global energy market and even though supply worries will persist with the Russia-Ukraine war, we will need to see evidence of demand stabilizing for the oil market to begin to find a near-term bottom,” wrote analysts at Sevens Report Research, in a note.
The move did damage on the price charts.
“WTI was testing the $90 mark early Thursday, a psychologically significant level from which buyers have been pushing back since the start of hostilities in Ukraine. The market has staged a strong selloff near the 200-day moving average, which is an important bearish signal,” said Alex Kuptsikevich, senior market analyst at FxPro, in a note.
“Having returned to the area of the July (intraday) lows and zeroed in on the rally since late February, oil is potentially facing an abyss,” the analyst wrote. “If we break that downward slide down into phases, the nearest next stop on the way down could be the area of $85 per barrel for Brent and $80 for WTI.”
Hear from top Wall Street energy analysts at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 in New York. RBC’s Helima Croft will be there.