Oil mixed on China rates cut, growth outlook


Oil prices slipped on Tuesday after China cut benchmark lending rates less than some expected while demand was seen rising this year, clouding the outlook for the world’s largest crude importer.

Brent crude was up 47 cents or 0.6% at $76.56 a barrel at 0850 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for July was down 13 cents from Friday’s close at $71.65. The July contract expires at the end of trade on Tuesday.

The more active WTI crude contract for August delivery was down 18 cents from Friday at $71.75 per barrel. There was no settlement in the WTI contract on Monday due to a public holiday in the United States.

China on Tuesday cut two benchmark lending rates by 10 basis points each. The cuts, the first in 10 months, were less aggressive than some forecasts.

The rate reductions follow recent economic data that showed China’s retail and factory sectors are struggling to sustain the momentum seen earlier this year.

Still, China’s 2023 crude oil demand is expected to rise 3.5% on last year, a researcher at China National Petroleum Corporation’s (CNPC) research arm said on Tuesday.

The Chinese government met last week to discuss measures to spur growth in the economy, and several major banks have cut their 2023 economic growth forecasts for China amid concerns its post-COVID recovery is faltering.

On Monday, two policymakers at the European Central Bank argued for more rate hikes amid risks of higher inflation. Markets also await testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later in the week for future rate clues.

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