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Oil snaps seven-session losing streak

Rally defies lingering concerns about global economic growth.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Oil snaps seven-session losing streak
Oil snaps losing streak, though broader economic growth concerns could drag on any major forward momentum. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, June 17 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices moved higher in early Friday trading, though much of that may be a corrective action following a seven-day losing streak.

The price for Brent crude oil was up 2.3 percent from the previous close to open in New York at $48.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for oil, was up 2.1 percent to $47.21 per barrel.

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The spike follows seven straight days of decline triggered in part by lingering concerns about the British referendum on membership in the European Union and recent growth concerns expressed by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Crude oil prices moved beyond $50 per barrel for a few sessions in early June as market data showed some level of balance was returning. Data from the American Petroleum Institute for May show U.S. crude oil production posted its eighth straight month of declines while stockpiles fell 1.7 percent, an indication that demand was on the rebound.

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A market surplus, brought on in part by higher levels of production in the United States, helped push oil prices below the $100 level common just two years ago. The market will get a better idea of the trajectory for the oil sector later Friday when Baker Hughes publishes its weekly rig count report. An increase in rig activity would indicate some players are starting to return to U.S. shale basins as market conditions improve.

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Global economic recovery, however, may be stalling out. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its market report for June there was no change in the month-to-month balance between supply and demand.

In a survey of the United States, the world's leading economy, Angel Gurria, the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, said that, seven years after a major recession, recovery is underway, "but it's a stubborn recovery."

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Gurria this week warned the European economy could stumble if the so-called Brexit strategy moves forward and the European Union evolves without the United Kingdom. Aside from those concerns, Christine LaGarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said Friday from Vienna nobody should assume all is well in the European economy.

"Incomes are mostly stagnant; and there is a growing sense of inequality and fears that the next generation may be worse off," she said.

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