Oil edged further above $80/bbl on Oct. 12 as a rally in equities lent support, though prices pared most of their gain after a closely watched forecaster deemed supply adequate and the outlook for demand weakening.
Crude was still heading for its first weekly drop in five weeks, pressured by a big rise in U.S. inventories and fading concerns for now that looming U.S. sanctions on Iran will cut supplies significantly.
Oil found support on Oct. 12 from a gain in world stocks. A drop in equities amid wider risk-off investor sentiment had pressured crude on Oct. 11.
“A rebound in equity markets would help Brent to rebound from $80,” said Olivier Jakob, analyst at Petromatrix, adding that a dip below $80 on Oct. 11 did not clearly break that level as a source of technical support.
International benchmark Brent crude rose 34 cents to $80.60/bbl by 5:52 a.m. CT, having dropped by 3.4% on Oct. 11. U.S. crude added 45 cents to $71.42.
Still, the monthly report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Oct. 12 weighed. The IEA said the market looked “adequately supplied for now” and trimmed its forecasts for world oil demand growth this year and next.
“This is due to a weaker economic outlook, trade concerns, higher oil prices and a revision to Chinese data,” said the IEA, which advises industrialized countries on energy policy.
The IEA report is the latest government assessment to predict weaker demand ahead and conclude that supply is adequate. OPEC made a similar move on Oct. 11.
“The bearish alarm bells are ringing for next year's oil balance as market players brace for the return of a supply surplus,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.
A drop in U.S. oil production also lent prices some support. In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, companies cut output by 40% on Oct. 11 because of Hurricane Michael, even as some operators began returning crews to offshore platforms.
Michael made landfall in Florida on Oct. 10 as the third most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland, though it has since weakened to a tropical storm.
Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices slumped this week on a flood of spot volumes amid subdued demand.
Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar on Saturday called for revamping the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rules governing how small refineries are exempted from the nation's biofuel laws, a proposal aimed at boosting her standing in the politically critical state of Iowa.
With high inventories and limited export possibilities, NGL prices drop and margins are squeezed.