US oil prices edge up after steep losses

SEOUL: Oil prices were mixed on Wednesday as the US benchmark rebounded from steep losses in the previous session, even though concern over the health of the global economy continued to overshadow the market. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures, were up 13 cents, or 0.31 per cent, at $42.66 per barrel, at 0748 GMT. Prices earlier rose as much as 2 per cent. They slumped 6.7 per cent in the previous session to $42.53 a barrel, the lowest since June 2017. Brent crude oil futures were down 29 cents, or 0.57 per cent, at $50.18 a barrel and earlier fell to the lowest since July 2017. They skidded 6.2 per cent in the previous session to $50.47 a barrel.
“$50 is a psychological support level (for Brent),” said Margaret Yang, a market analyst for CMC Markets in Singapore. “But market confidence needs to be restored for oil price… that include an equity market rebound and/or a bigger production cut from major oil exporters,” Yang said, referring to an Opec-led agreement to lower output starting next month. Broader financial markets have been under pressure on worries about a global economic slowdown amid higher US interest rates and the US-China trade dispute.
“US equity futures are trading a bit firmer this morning triggering some little buying interest in the oil markets,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore. But Innes added macroeconomics fears will continue unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) “reassures markets the viability of their supply cuts and even impose deeper ones as some members have suggested”. Opec and allies led by Russia agreed this month to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day. — Reuters