SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on bargain-buying in Asia on Wednesday after hitting two-month lows but gains were hobbled by concerns about an oversupply and weak demand after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its global economic growth forecasts.Investors are playing a holding game ahead of the release later in the day of official US stockpile figures, which will provide a better handle on the outlook in the world’s top oil consumer.
“For now, it looks like a battle between buyers and sellers to see who can get a better deal out of this,” CMC Markets trader Alex Wijaya told Agence France-Presse.
Supply disruptions that lifted prices from near 13-year lows in February have eased and the situation in Turkey is stabilising after the weekend’s failed coup attempt, turning attention back to the supply issue.
At about 6:45 a.m. local time, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose six cents, or 0.06 percent, to $44.71 and Brent added 11 cents, or 0.24 percent, to $46.77.
WTI fell 3 percent in the previous two days, while Brent lost 2 percent in the same period.
On Tuesday the IMF cut its growth estimate for the world economy by 0.1 percentage points for both this year and next, citing the effects of Britain’s shock decision to leave the European Union.
CMC Markets client services executive Alex Furber said oil was also taking a hit from renewed strength in the dollar, which makes the commodity more expensive for anyone holding weaker currencies.
He added that he saw the dollar rising further.
The greenback has picked up in the past two weeks on growing speculation the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates before the end of the year following a string of upbeat data, including a forecast-busting reading on jobs creation.