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Oil treads water as markets weigh supply cuts, manufacturing slump

Oil treads water as markets weigh supply cuts, manufacturing slump
© Reuters. — Oil prices moved in a tight range on Tuesday, steadying after a volatile session as markets weighed more supply cuts from Saudi Arabia and Russia against signs of worsening economic activity across the globe. 

Saudi Arabia said it will extend its recently announced 1 million barrels per day (bpd) cuts to August and potentially beyond, while Russia also said it will trim its oil exports by 500,000 bpd. 

But optimism over the supply cuts was largely outweighed by weak manufacturing activity readings from the U.S., Germany, and China on Monday. The readings brewed more concerns that global economic conditions will worsen this year, weighing on crude demand. 

futures fell 0.2% to $74.86 a barrel, while futures rose 0.4% to $70.05 a barrel by 21:28 ET (01:28 GMT). Both contracts closed in a flat-to-low range on Monday, following a volatile session.

OPEC meeting in focus

The Saudi and Russian supply cuts come just before a conference held by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies this week. Chief executives from major global oil firms are set to meet with energy ministers from the OPEC states on Wednesday and Thursday, potentially offering more cues to oil markets.

The OPEC cut oil production twice this year to support prices. But both cuts provided very limited support to oil prices, with concerns over a global economic slowdown largely outweighing any signs of tightening supplies. 

Markets will be watching for any more cues on tighter production from the OPEC conference, although, given that it is not a formal meeting, chances for any further changes to production are slim.

Fed cues awaited after dismal manufacturing data

Focus this week is also on more cues on U.S. monetary policy, starting with the of the Fed’s June meeting, due on Wednesday. The central bank had kept interest rates on hold last month, but flagged at least two more hikes this year.

The prospect of rising interest rates weighed heavily on oil prices this year, as markets feared more headwinds to demand from tighter monetary conditions.

Substantially weaker-than-expected manufacturing data from the world’s largest economies furthered this notion on Monday, pressuring crude markets.

Focus this week is also on data for June, which is also expected to factor into the Fed’s plans for interest rates.


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