Crude drops in Asia on profit-taking, rig count, Trump-Xi eyed
Crude oil dipped in Asia on profit taking after three days of gains and despite upbeat figures from China on manufacturing and services for March that gained more than expected in cautious trade as U.S. rig count data lies ahead and markets look to a meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping in Florida that is seen as high stakes on trade.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for May delivery dipped 0.34% to $50.18 a barrel, while on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent eased 0.41% to $52.91 a barrel.
China’s semi-official manufacturing PMI rose to 51.8, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing (CFLP) said Friday, beating the expected 51.6 level and releasing the figures one day ahead of the normal first of the month release and ahead of the Caixin PMI figures.
Earlier in Japan, household spending for February slumped 3.8% year-on-year, compared to a 1.7% decline seen. On a monthly basis however it rose 2.5%, beating the expected 0.4% rise.
Separately, national core CPI fell 0.2% for February year-on-year as expected, while unemployment dipped to 2.8% from 3.0%. Provisional industrial production for February rose 2.0% month-on-month, beating the expected 1.2% increase.
Market participants turn attention to Baker Hughes rig count, due to be released on Friday at 13:00 EDT. Data last weekrevealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 21, the tenth weekly increase in a row. That brought the total count to 652, the most since September 2015.
The White House said Trump would host Xi next Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida. It said Trump and his wife, Melania, would host Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, at a dinner next Thursday.
Overnight, crude futures settled higher on Thursday, amid optimism that an OPEC led production cut deal would be extended beyond June, following bullish comments from Kuwait oil chief Essam al-Marzouq.
Crude futures settled above the key $50-level, as crude prices hit a three-week high of $50.45, after Kuwait oil minister Essam al-Morzouq said his country was among several nations that supported the idea of extending the current deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members beyond June.
In November last year, OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to combat the oversupply issue that has pressured prices over the last two years.
OPEC members have been high compliance with the deal to cut supply, which came into effect in January this year, while a ramp up in U.S. production of shale and crude has weighed on oil prices.
Despite, a dip in crude inventories on Wednesday, crude stockpiles remain at record highs – at over 520 million barrels, current crude supplies are up 6% over the past year. Rising U.S. crude stockpiles sparked concerns that OPEC may struggle to drain the glut in supply.