Oil Prices Rebound as China Signals More Openness

Crude-oil prices rebounded in early Asia trade Thursday, tracking the rally in most Asian stock markets after Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled more openness to foreign investments during his visit to the U.S.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in November traded at $44.83 a barrel, up $0.35 in the Globex electronic session. November Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $0.31 to $48.06 a barrel. Nymex futures are down 9.6% month-to-date while Brent is 11.8% lower in the same period.

Asian shares mostly swung higher. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was up 1%, after hitting a two-year low on Wednesday. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8% and South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.5%, while the Nikkei Stock Average was 2.1% lower as trading resumed after a three-day holiday.

Despite the rise in Asia trade, oil prices settled sharply lower on Wall Street overnight after investors were unimpressed by the decline in U.S. crude-oil stockpiles last week.

Official data released by the Department of Energy late Wednesday indicated U.S. inventories dropped 1.9 million barrels last week, compared with the 100,000-barrel draw estimated by analysts. However, the drop was smaller than the 3.7-million drop reported by the American Petroleum Institute and the 4.3-million barrel decline in the same week of 2014, Citi Futures said in a note.

Speaking at a dinner in Seattle on Tuesday, Xi pledged to push ahead with economic reforms without resorting to competitive currency devaluation. He also emphasized China’s willingness to usher in more foreign investments.

The remarks came amid growing concerns that the world’s second-biggest economy and crude importer is losing steam. On Wednesday, the preliminary China Caixin manufacturing purchase managers’ index felled to a six-and-half-year low of 47.0 in September.

Market Watch

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam