Futures Movers: Oil inches higher, with U.S. prices holding above $70 after Evergrande-inspired selloff

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Oil futures moved modestly higher on Tuesday, with the U.S. benchmark holding above the $70-a-barrel mark, after a broad selloff in the previous session attributed to jitters about the impact of a default by Chinese property giant Evergrande.

“It’s one of those rollercoaster days as the market…seemed confused over how to interpret two opposing forces: the concern over the effect of China’s Evergrande possible default and the tight U.S. supply signs,” Nishant Bhushan, oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy, wrote in daily commentary.

West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery

tacked on 16 cents, or 0.2%, to $70.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had traded as low as $69.67 ahead of the contract’s expiration at the end of the trading session. November WTI crude

the most actively traded contract, was up 23 cents, or 0.4%, at $70.39 a barrel.

November Brent crude

the global benchmark, rose 34 cents, or 0.5%, to $74.26 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

“Bringing a bullish tailwind” are expectations for a drawdown of U.S. crude inventories and reports that OPEC+ — the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies — is 116% compliant in August with their oil production curbs, analysts at Blue Line Futures wrote in their latest note.

“We expect bullish tailwinds to show up from the risk-landscape in the near term,” analysts at Blue Line Futures said. “From there, we do believe a subsiding delta narrative can bring a strong year-end rally,” as the U.S. has begun “laying a plan to lift travel bans for international travelers and we expect this to be an ongoing narrative in Q4.”

Oil, along with a range of other commodities, equities and other assets perceived as risky, sold off Monday, a move tied in large part to worries surrounding a potential default by Evergrande

Read: Commodities, including iron ore and copper, take a hit on potential collapse of China’s Evergrande

Meanwhile, data shows U.S. oil output in the Gulf of Mexico continues to recover slowly from Hurricane Ida, which hit the Louisiana coast on Aug. 29. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement late Monday said more than 18% of production in the Gulf remained shut in, equal to 331,078 barrels a day of output.

“More than 80% of offshore platforms have returned to operation as output continues its slow return from the damage dealt by Hurricane Ida,” said Christin Redmond, global commodity analyst at Schneider Electric, in a Tuesday note. 

“The remaining outages could be offline for an extended stretch though, headlined by Shell’s recent announcement that significant damage to infrastructure,” she said.

Royal Dutch Shell

the Gulf’s largest producer, on Monday said damage to its WD-143 transfer facility won’t be fully repaired until the first quarter of next year.

The Energy Information Administration will release its weekly data on U.S. petroleum supplies Wednesday. Data from the American Petroleum Institute will be issued ahead of that, on Tuesday afternoon.

Forecasts for the EIA data vary following Hurricane Ida’s disruptions to Gulf of Mexico production. On average, analysts expect the EIA to report a fall of 3.8 million barrels in domestic crude supplies for the week ended Sept. 17, according to a survey conducted by S&P Global Platts. They also forecast inventory declines of 900,000 barrels for gasoline and 1.4 million barrels for distillates.

On Nymex Tuesday, October gasoline

shed 0.6% to $2.10 a gallon, while October heating oil

added 0.5% to $2.17 a gallon.

October natural gas

traded at $4.79 per million British thermal units, down 3.9%.

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