Oil futures fell on Monday to mark their lowest close in nearly two weeks as traders gauged the outlook for energy demand following a spate of global economic data, including a correction to a U.S. manufacturing index reading. July crude CLN4 -0.02% dipped 24 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $102.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices, tracking the most-active contracts, haven’t closed at a level this low since May 20. Traders digested data from the U.S. and elsewhere for hints on the energy-demand outlook.
The final Markit reading of U.S. manufacturing conditions in May totaled 56.4, compared to a preliminary reading of 56.2. Construction spending rose 0.2% in April, but economists polled by MarketWatch expected a 0.8% increase. The Institute for Supply Management, meanwhile, said its manufacturing index grew in May at the fastest rate of 2014, according to an index that was corrected on Monday. The Institute for Supply Management now says its manufacturing index rose to 55.4% from 54.9% in April. Initially Monday, the ISM said its index fell to 53.2% in May. “The ISM correction came too late in the trading day to help crude oil,” said Richard Hastings, macro strategist at Global Hunter Securities. The ISM signal also “wasn’t big and loud enough to change the main story on Monday: the market is beginning to feel too far out on a ledge with $103 per barrel for U.S. crude, especially in light of the evidence that geopolitical tensions are not having the impact that some observers want to believe.”
“This puts the crude pricing story back to the infrastructure and demand stories: is there enough storage at the Gulf Coast for U.S. oil production? How much gasoline can we export?,” he said. “For the near term, these are okay, but there are questions about longer-term price support.”