27 November 2015 – Crude oil futures fell on Friday with losses this month standing at over 8%, hurt by disappointing Chinese economic data and worries over a supply glut.
A firmer US dollar also weighed on oil, making greenback-denominated contracts more expensive for holders of other currencies. Although trading was quiet after Thanksgiving Day in the US.
Brent crude had dropped 4 cents to $45.42 per barrel early on Friday, after settling down 71 cents at $45.46 in the previous session.
West Texas Intermediate futures, the US crude benchmark, fell 50 cents, or 1.16%, to $42.54 per barrel. They are up 5.3% so far this week, but have plunged 8.7% since the beginning of the month.
Profits earned by Chinese industrial companies fell 4.6% in October from a year earlier, data from the country’s statistics bureau showed on Friday, declining for the fifth consecutive month.
ANZ said in a note on Friday that “US stocks data did little to excite the market”, referring to numbers from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday which showed US crude inventories rose 1 million barrels last week, slightly below analyst expectations.
The market is shifting its focus to a meeting of ministers from Opec, which is set for Vienna on 4 December.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Russia and Saudi Arabia would set up a special joint working group on oil and gas cooperation to promote energy dialogue between the world’s top oil producers.
Both Brent and US crude have gained compared with last week’s closes due to geopolitical risks in the Middle East after Turkey’s shooting down of Russian warplane.
Russia threatened economic retaliation against Turkey on Thursday and said it was still awaiting a reasonable explanation, but Turkey dismissed the threats as “emotional” and “unfitting”.
But some said Middle East geopolitical risk was unlikely to push oil prices higher.
“The well supplied crude market, record high inventories in OECD and lack of material threat to oil facilities in the Middle East from the military escalation against IS in Syria are going to prevent geopolitical premiums building in oil prices,” BMI said in a note.