Oil prices steady as prospect of Fed hikes may curb fuel demand

Tue Sep 20 2022
Lucy Harlow (4039 articles)
Oil prices steady as prospect of Fed hikes may curb fuel demand

Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday, after rising in the previous session, on concerns that interest rate hikes in the United States to tame inflation will curb economic growth and fuel demand in the world’s biggest crude consumer.

Brent crude futures for November settlement fell 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $91.93 a barrel by 0136 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery was at $85.59 a barrel, down 14 cents, or 0.2%. The October contract will expire on Tuesday and the more active November contract was at $85.20, down 16 cents, or 0.2%.

The dollar rose against major currencies on Monday ahead of a slew of central bank meetings this week led by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is likely to raise interest rates by another 75 basis points to tackle inflation.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive to holders of other currencies.

“Crude prices were under pressure as fears of an aggressive central bank tightening are driving concerns for a quickly weakening global economy,” said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at OANDA, in a note.

“The global economy is slowing and that has been troubling for the crude demand outlook.”

U.S. crude oil stocks are estimated to have risen last week by around 2 million barrels in the week to Sept. 16, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

The U.S. Energy Department will sell up to 10 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for delivery in November, extending the timing of a plan to sell 180 million barrels from the stockpile to tame fuel prices.

The impasse over a revival of the Iran nuclear deal is continuing to keep that country’s exports from fully returning to the market, which is providing some support to prices.

Russia said on Monday that unresolved issues remained in the negotiations while France’s foreign minister said that it was up to Tehran to make a decision as the window to find a solution was closing.

Still, signs that major producers are unable to meet their output quotas failed to drive prices much higher on Monday.

An internal document from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, known as OPEC+, showed the group fell short of its oil production target by 3.583 million barrels per day (bpd) in August. In July, OPEC+ missed its target by 2.892 million bpd.

ANZ Research analysts did point to the lifting of citywide lockdowns in China’s Chengdu and Dalian on Monday as a potential spark for a stronger recovery in oil demand growth in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.

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Lucy Harlow

Lucy Harlow

Lucy Harlow is a senior Correspondent who has been reporting about Commodities, Currencies, Bonds etc across the globe for last 10 years. She reports from New York and tracks daily movement of various indices across the Globe