Crude oil futures advanced during the Asian trading hours Thursday after data showed that Chinese inflation continued to cool down for the fourth straight month in July, raising hopes of monetary easing measures to support growth.
Light sweet crude for the September delivery gained 0.24 percent or 22 cents to $93.57 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the Asian trading hours, while Brent crude oil futures for the September delivery rose 0.04 percent or 4 cents to $112.18 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
The data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that consumer prices in China eased to a 30-month low of 1.8 percent in July compared to 2.2 percent increase in June. The data raised hopes that the world’s second largest crude consumer has now more room for policy easing to kickstart the slowing economy.
“The market is expecting some type of policy support from the Chinese government to accelerate the economy because momentum is slowing at this point. The market will be excited if there are some concrete signs of policy support,” Tim Leung, a portfolio manager at IG Investment Ltd, told Bloomberg.
Oil futures were mixed Wednesday despite a larger-than-expected drop in the inventories. The U.S. Energy Information Administration weekly inventory report showed that the U.S. crude inventories fell by 3.7 million barrels in the week ending Aug. 3, well above the Reuters' projected drop of 300,000 barrels.
Light sweet crude for the September delivery fell 32 cents and settled at $93.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange while the Brent crude gained 14 cents to settle at $112.14 per barrel.