Oil steady as virus fears counter positive factory data

Brent crude futures slid 27 cents, or 0.6%, to $43.25 a barrel

  
A 3D printed oil pump jack is seen in front of displayed stock graph and Opec logo in this illustration picture, April 14, 2020.

A 3D printed oil pump jack is seen in front of displayed stock graph and Opec logo in this illustration picture, April 14, 2020.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

TOKYO- Oil prices steadied on Monday, pressured by rising COVID-19 cases around the globe and by oversupply worries as OPEC and its allies are set to wind back output cuts in August, but supported by positive industry data in Europe and Asia.

Brent crude rose 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $43.57 a barrel by 1344 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $40.33.

In the last month, Brent has been trading in a range between $41 and almost $45.

"Oil continues to trade in an incredibly rangebound manner," said Warren Patterson, ING's head of commodities strategy.

"Speculators appear to be getting more nervous about the demand recovery, with the path much more gradual than market expectations coming into the second half of the year," he added.

Coronavirus cases continued to surge in the United States and stood at almost 18 million globally. More countries imposed new restrictions or extended the current ones to control the pandemic. 

Amid slow recovery of fuel demand due to the resurgence of the virus, investors are also worried about oversupply, as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, will ease oil supply curbs from August.

"Concerns appear to be developing that a rise in OPEC+ production will coincide with uneven recovery in oil demand due to localised setbacks following secondary waves of COVID outbreaks," said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity research at BNP Paribas.

OPEC+ members have been cutting output since May by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd). From August, cuts will officially taper to 7.7 million bpd until December. 

Russian oil and gas condensate output increased to 9.8 million bpd on Aug. 1-2 from 9.37 million bpd in July, a source familiar with data said on Monday.

Oil prices fell earlier in the session but found some support after a survey showed manufacturing activity across the euro zone expanded for the first time since early 2019 last month. Positive manufacturing data in Asia also capped the losses. 

A Reuters poll on Friday indicated that oil is set for a slow crawl upwards this year as the gradual easing of coronavirus-led restrictions buoys demand, although a second COVID-19 wave could slow the pace of a recovery. (Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Louise Heavens) ((bozorgmehr.sharafedin@thomsonreuters.com;))

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