Oil prices little changed ahead of China GDP data

FAN Editor

October 19, 2020

By Florence Tan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices edged up in early Asian trade on Monday ahead of China’s economic growth data, which is expected to show recovery in the top oil importer, offsetting concerns of an impact from the virus’ resurgence on consumption and rising supply.

Brent crude for December <LCOc1> inched up 4 cents to $42.97 a barrel by 0018 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude <CLc1> was at $40.90 a barrel, up 2 cents, a day before the November contract expires.

China will release third-quarter GDP data at 0200 GMT; its economy most likely grew 5.2% in July-September from a year earlier, as consumers resurfaced and major trading partners reopened for business, shaking off a record slump seen earlier this year.

However, China’s oil-buying frenzy is expected to slow in the fourth quarter amid high inventories and limited import quotas for independent refiners.

Brent rose 0.2% last week while WTI gained 0.7%, after crude and oil product inventories in the United States, world’s top oil consumer, fell last week.

However, last week’s discussions at a panel of officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Russia and allies, a group known as OPEC+, showed that the oil market’s outlook is gloomier than a month ago.

The Joint Technical Committee fear a prolonged second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and a jump in Libyan output could push the oil market into surplus next year in its worst-case scenario, according to a confidential document seen by Reuters.

Such a surplus could threaten plans by OPEC, Russia and allies, known as OPEC+, to taper record output cuts made this year by adding 2 million barrels per day of oil to the market in 2021.

U.S. House Speaker House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that she is optimistic on coronavirus relief deal before Election Day although differences remain with President Donald Trump’s administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package.

(Reporting by Florence Tan. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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