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Stable Oil Prices Hover Near Three-Month Peak Amid Global Supply and Demand Changes

As supply concerns and economic trends globally contribute to the evolving landscape, oil prices continue to exhibit resilience, remaining steady near a three-month high.


The Current Oil Price Scenario

On Tuesday, oil prices held their ground, remaining near their highest level in three months. The stability in prices is a result of signs of tightening supplies and assurances from Chinese authorities to bolster the world's second-largest economy. However, the sentiment was somewhat offset by underwhelming economic data from Western countries.

Analysis of Crude Benchmarks and Supply Conditions

Brent futures dipped slightly, down 9 cents, or 0.1%, trading at $82.65 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude witnessed a marginal dip of 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $78.67. Despite these minor dips, both crude benchmarks have posted four consecutive weeks of gains. The expectation of tightening supplies, owing to output cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, has been instrumental in this trend. The situation has led to a scenario known as backwardation, where earlier-loading Brent contracts are trading at a premium to later ones, indicating anticipated supply constraints.

The Ripple Effect of Geopolitical Tensions

Market participants are also closely monitoring geopolitical developments. Notably, Russia's escalating actions and bombardment of Ukrainian port infrastructure along the Danube River have been flagged as potential risks. The concern is that these attacks on grain assets could inadvertently affect energy markets, adding to the growing anxieties about a possible disruption in supplies.

Economic Outlooks in China, the Euro Zone, and the US

China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, is ramping up its economic policy support, a move that could have significant implications for the global oil market. Meanwhile, the Euro Zone's business activity experienced a sharper decline than expected in July. In contrast, the US saw a slowdown in business activity to a five-month low in the same month. However, the silver lining is that lower input prices and slower hiring rates indicate progress in the Federal Reserve's efforts to curb inflation. Markets are anticipating a 25-basis-point rate hike from both the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank this week.

US Inventory Data and Industry Updates

Expectations are high for the release of US industry data on oil inventories around 2030 GMT. According to an average estimate by four analysts polled by Reuters, crude inventories likely fell by about 2 million barrels in the week to July 21. However, sending a bearish signal for oil markets, it was reported that a unit capable of processing 110,000 barrels per day at a major U.S. refinery in Baton Rouge would be shut for up to four weeks.