Oil prices steady ahead of U.S. election, but weak China data weighs
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices were stable on Tuesday after posting strong gains the previous day when investors piled money into financial markets in expectation that Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the U.S. presidential election.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 6 cents at $44.83 per barrel at 0343 GMT. The contract gained almost 1.9 percent the previous session.
International Brent crude prices were up 6 cents at $46.21 per barrel.
“Investors piled back into the energy sector,” ANZ bank said, with polls putting Clinton ahead of her Republican competitor Donald Trump for Tuesday’s election. Clinton is seen by investors as offering greater certainty and stability.
But traders said that poor data out of China on Tuesday was dragging on prices.
China, which vies with the United States for position as the world’s biggest crude importer, bought 6.78 million barrels of oil from abroad in October, down 12.9 percent from the previous month and the lowest volume this year on a daily basis.
The country’s refined oil product exports jumped 24 percent on a year earlier, as the nation produced more fuel than it could absorb.
Crude prices were also weighed down by lingering doubts over the ability of oil producers to agree on a planned output cut to prop up a market which has been dogged by two years of oversupply.
The chief executive of U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson said on Monday that global oil supplies have exceeded demand by 1 to 1 million barrels per day since the start of 2015.
In physical oil markets, U.S. pipeline companies with operations at the heart of the country’s commercial oil industry at Cushing, Oklahoma, restarted on Monday after an earthquake late on Sunday triggered safety shutdowns.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford)