Oil Little Changed As Demand Worries Linger
Oil prices were little changed on Thursday, with a firmer dollar and concerns about slowing U.S. economic recovery denting sentiment.
Benchmark Brent crude held steady at $41.81 barrel, while U.S. crude futures were marginally lower at $39.92 a barrel.
Both benchmarks rose modestly on Wednesday after data showed a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week.
Data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration showed crude inventories in the country fell by 1.6 million barrels last week. The drop, however, was less than what markets had expected.
Gasoline stockpiles fell by about 4 million barrels last week, while distillate stockpiles showed a drawdown of 3.4 million barrels.
Growth worries resurfaced after several Fed officials said more stimulus from Congress is needed to keep the U.S. economic recovery on track.
The U.S. economy is recovering very robustly, but we’re still in a deep hole, said Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida in an interview Wednesday.
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said the recovery remains narrow and isn’t sustainable.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted that despite progress in rebounding from the coronavirus economic downturn, “there is a long way to go.”
Speculation is rife that the U.S. Congress would not agree extra fiscal stimulus to counter the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in the run up to the November election.