With two sets of U.S. weekly oil statistics due out Tuesday and Wednesday expected to confirm fears of high inventories due to low demand, the price of oil dipped to the bottom of its 12-week range. A Reuter’s poll showing a 500,000 barrel inventory increase in the week to September 25 compounded middle distillate forecasts showing a 1.1 million barrel rise.
CEO of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company, Khalid Al-Falih indicated Monday that demand from emerging markets and an uptick in China would not offset the loss in demand for oil for some time. Al-Falih also suggested that global consumption would not flag irrevocably and that higher oil prices were needed to fund concurrent development projects.
With the FTSEurofirst 300 broadly falling, U.S. and Brent crude futures were below $65 and $64 respectively by midmorning, Sept. 29. A rebound to $66.59 and $65.71 respectively followed at noon, due to a declining dollar driven by U.S. data showing poor consumer confidence. A Conference Board report detailed the worst job prospects in 26 years, underwriting the slowing demand for oil.
Oil prices have not yet jumped in reaction to rising international tension over OPEC’s second-largest producer, Iran, which recently test-fired a regional-strike-capable missile system on the heels of news about nuclear fuel production in southern Tehran.