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Oil climbs as stimulus bill progress, strong US factory data support demand outlooks

Highlights

US factory orders up 6.2% in June

White House, House Democrats to meet on stimulus bill

Market eyes large US crude draw

New York — Crude oil prices settled higher Aug. 4 following more bullish US economic data and expectations of a large drawdown in US crude inventories.

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NYMEX September WTI settled 69 cents higher at $41.70/b and ICE November Brent was up 24 cents day on day to settle at $44.39/b.

US factory orders climbed 6.2% in June, the US Census Bureau data showed Aug. 4, marking a second month of growth in the country's manufacturing sector. The report built on strong manufacturing data released Aug. 3 and reinforced a demand recovery narrative, analysts said.

"Crude prices turned positive on stimulus hopes and after another positive round of economic data showed manufacturing recovery continued in June despite some reopening reversals," said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya in a note.

NYMEX September ULSD settled 1.75 cents higher at $1.2584/gal and September RBOB was up 12 points at $1.2143/gal.

US lawmakers continue to debate a federal stimulus package, but the Republican White House and Senate remain at odds with the Democratic controlled House of Representatives on several key details, especially an extension of a $600 weekly unemployment stipend that expired in the week ended Aug. 1.

The White House and House Democrats are expected to meet later Aug. 4 to continue negotiations, and US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said he is "prepared to support" a deal should the two sides come to agreement, according to media reports.

Adding to bullish sentiment were expectations of a large draw in US crude inventories during the week ended Aug. 1.

"There is some talk about [US crude] inventories and there is kind of a whisper number of big draw down, we are seeing a little bit of 'risk on' here at end of day," said Price Futures Group senior market analyst Phil Flynn.

US commercial crude inventories are expected to have declined 4.1 million barrels to around 521.9 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 1, analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts said Aug. 3.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its crude oil inventory estimates later Aug. 4.