SINGAPORE: Oil prices were mixed in lackluster Asian trade on Tuesday before the release of US government data that will gauge crude demand in the world’s biggest economy.
Analysts expect the data to be released Wednesday by the US Energy Department to show that commercial crude stockpiles rose in the week to October 30, which typically means weaker demand in the world’s top oil consumer.
Despite occasional rallies, oil remains generally bogged down by a global crude supply glut that has depressed prices for more than a year.
“Expectations of more US stockpiles restrained oil bulls,” said Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore.
A global economic slowdown led by China has hammered demand for the commodity and highlighted fears there may not be enough economic activity to soak up excess supplies, as output from oil-producing nations remains high.
At around 0700 GMT Tuesday, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December was up eight cents at $46.22. Brent crude for December turned lower and was trading 10 cents down at $48.69 a barrel.
Prices had dipped on Monday after data showed China’s manufacturing output continued to contract and Russian oil production hit a new record.
China’s official purchasing managers’ index for the manufacturing sector showed activity shrank in October for the third straight month.
Russian oil production broke a post-Soviet record in October, climbing to 10.78 million barrels per day, according to Bloomberg News.
Current price levels are more than 50 percent lower than their peaks in June 2014, when a barrel of oil was selling for over $100.