Oil prices fell in choppy trade on Tuesday and nursed steep losses this week as weak economic data from China brewed more concerns over worsening demand, although the prospect of smaller U.S. rate hikes and tightening supply helped limit losses. Crude markets plummeted at the beginning of the week after rising COVID cases in major importer China drummed up concerns over stricter lockdown measures, which could hurt crude demand in the world’s largest oil importer. Data on Tuesday showed that Chinese industrial production and retail sales performed worse than expected in October, heralding continued economic weakness in the country. A series of COVID lockdowns in China ground economic growth in the country to a halt this year, severely crimping its appetite for oil. London-traded Brent oil futures rose 0.1% to $93.28 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.1% to $85.78 a barrel by 22:07 ET (03:07 GMT). Both contracts plummeted around 4% on Monday, after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) trimmed its demand forecast for 2022 and 2023.
The OPE Cut its 2022 Global oil Demand Forecast For the Fifth Time Since April.
and also posited weaker demand in 2023 due to increasing economic headwinds from high inflation and rising interest rates. The report comes ahead of the last OPEC meeting for the year in December, and also ahead of a recently announced production cut by the cartel going into effect. The move is expected to tighten crude supply, providing some strength to oil prices. Also benefiting oil markets was recent weakness in the dollar. The greenback slipped to near two-month lows after U.S. inflation data showed clear signs of easing in October. Several members of the Federal Reserve also voiced support for smaller interest rate hikes in the coming months, a move that is likely to weigh on the dollar and benefit crude prices. Markets are pricing in an over 80% chance of a smaller 50 basis point hike by the Fed in December.Oil prices fell sharply this year as slowing growth in China and rising interest rates across the globe eroded the outlook for global demand. But prices may see some strength in the coming months as supply tightens, especially with the European Union set to ban all Russian crude shipments.