15 April 2015 – Oil prices rose on Wednesday after signs of a dip in US production, but gains were capped by Chinese quarterly growth slowing to a six-year low.
Front-month Brent crude futures were trading up 47 cents at $58.90 a barrel in early trading, while US crude was up 28 cents at $53.57.
In the US, North Dakota’s February oil production fell 15,000 barrels per day versus January, although the number of producing wells hit a record high.
This followed a US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report forecasting US shale production would fall by 45,000 bpd to 4.98 million bpd in May, which would be the first monthly decline in four years. Analysts said the US figures were pushing prices up.
“We expect Brent Jun’15 and WTI Jun’15 to end today breaking resistance of $60.3 and $55.34 (per barrel),” Phillip Futures said.
But the slowing Chinese economy prevented prices from rising further. On a quarterly basis, China’s economic growth slowed to 1.3% between January and March after seasonal adjustments, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday, compared with growth of 1.5% in the previous three months.
March factory output rose 5.6% from a year earlier, below the 6.9% seen in a Reuters poll and its lowest level since the global financial crisis in 2008.
Despite its slowing growth, China’s implied oil demand in March rose 7.6% from a year earlier to 10.53 million bpd, according to Reuters’ calculations based on government data.