Crude-oil futures trading in New York settled higher on Thursday, shaking off initial weakness following negative economic news from China, the world’s top oil consumer.
Light, sweet crude futures for delivery in October rose 51 cents to settle at $93.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had traded as low as $92.50 a barrel earlier, according to FactSet. Chinese manufacturing activity weakened in August to a three-month low, with the preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index slipping to 50.3 compared with a final reading of 51.7 in July. Analysts said the soft numbers point to a fragile economic recovery and will likely be negative for oil demand.
Libya said it has resumed oil exports from its largest terminal, As Sidra, after almost a year, with an initial cargo of 600,000 barrels of oil headed for Europe, keeping the pressure on for Brent for most of Thursday. Libyan oil supply along with seasonal demand weakness in September and October will delay a recovery in oil prices, although prices are starting to stabilize as the glut of West African crude alleviates, Michael Wittner, head of oil research at Société Générale, said in a report.
Bullish crude oil inventory data showing a larger-than-expected fall in weekly U.S. oil stockpiles helped New York-traded oil. SocGen said in the report there was an unexpected jump in the amount of crude processed by refineries and a surprise build in gasoline stocks.