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Faded US stimulus hopes weigh on oil prices

25 august 2012, 11:52
0
©REUTERS/Jianan Yu
©REUTERS/Jianan Yu
Oil prices were mixed Thursday amid fresh doubts about hoped-for US Federal Reserve stimulus and a bleaker energy demand outlook in China and Europe, AFP reports.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for October, fell 99 cents from Wednesday to $96.27 a barrel.

In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October rose 10 cents to settle at $115.01 a barrel, well off earlier highs.

The New York benchmark West Texas Intermediate contract had opened higher, extending Wednesday's gains that were supported by publication of the minutes of the last Fed rate-setting meeting indicating policy makers were leaning toward new economic stimulus.

But comments Thursday by a Fed official opposing new stimulus damped down sentiment.

"Initially we've had quite a bit of conviction out there that monetary policy was going to ease, but not sure this conviction stayed firm," said Bart Melek, an analyst at TD Securities.

For Michael Lynch at Strategic Energy and Economic Research, the Fed minutes raised "concerns that the US economy does not look so strong. It made people a bit nervous about oil demand going into the fall season."

Melek said the market also was under pressure from signs of weak growth in Europe and China, the world's biggest energy consumer.

Disappointing purchasing managers indices confirmed "that the demand for oil isn't going to be fantastic," he said.

A closely watched PMI survey by British bank HSBC showed China's shrinking manufacturing activity fell to a nine-month low in August as firms struggled with global woes.

In the debt-wracked eurozone, the Markit survey purchasing managers survey showed the business sector contracted for the seventh consecutive month in August.

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