Crude oil futures were largely steady during mid-morning trade in Asia Tuesday, after the more than $1/b surge overnight, as concerns over the global economy continue to take center stage, industry sources said.
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Market participants were also waiting for fresh cues from US oil inventory data to be released late Tuesday, industry sources said.
At 11:40 am in Singapore (0340 GMT), ICE Brent October futures inched 1 cent/b (0.02%) lower from Monday's settle to $59.73/b, while the front-month NYMEX September light sweet crude futures contract ticked down 6 cents/b (0.11%) at $56.15/b.
"Crude oil prices closed higher over growing market optimism on economic stimuli to boost flagging global growth," Phillip Futures' investment analyst Benjamin Lu said.
Moreover, a bullish expectation on last week's US crude inventory data also provided some support to prices this morning, analysts said.
US commercial crude inventories were expected to have declined by 3.1 million barrels to around 437.4 million barrels during the week ended August 16 according to analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts.
Refinery utilization is expected to tick 0.2 percentage points higher to 95% of capacity, analysts said, contributing to the nationwide crude draw.
Refined product inventories likely fell last week despite the expected uptick in refinery runs. Total gasoline stocks are expected to have fallen 1.6 million barrels at 232.2 million barrels, and distillate tanks are expected to draw about 200,000 barrels to 135.3 million barrels, analysts said.
Market participants would be watching out for preliminary data on last week's US inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute due for release on Tuesday and the more definitive numbers from the US Energy information Administration later Wednesday.
Prevailing uncertainty around the ongoing trade tensions between the US and China as well as concerns over global demand and growth however, continued to prove bullish for crude prices, analysts said.
"Shaky economic fundamentals along with elevated market risks have limited bullish gains for crude oil futures," said Lu.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's crude exports fell to a 22-month low of 6.72 million b/d in June, according to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative, fulfilling pledges by kingdom officials to hold volumes below 7 million b/d to help stabilize oil prices.
The kingdom's June crude exports mark a 221,000 b/d drop from May, JODI said Monday in its latest data update, and came despite a 112,000 b/d rise in production to 9.78 million b/d.
"OPEC-led supply cuts though providing a price floor, has failed to spur oil prices forward as market outlook turns increasingly dim for the coming term. With supply levels looking poised to maneuver ahead of global oil demand, oil prices will remain confined within range-bound conditions as traders deliberate downbeat market assessments, "Lu added.
As of 0340 GMT, the US Dollar Index was 0.07% lower at 98.195.
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