Oil Down As Traders Shift Worries To Robust U.S. Economic News

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday October 26, 2023

Oil traders on Thursday lived up to a recent description of them as acting from headline-to-headline by turning their main focus momentarily away from fears of an escalating Israel/Hamas war and towards worries of a global economy; prices dropped by over 1 percent accordingly. 

Brent settled down $2.20, or 2.4 percent, at $87.93 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate settled down $2.18, or 2.5 percent, at $83.21 per barrel.

Thursday's hand-wringing was triggered by reports that the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly two years in the third quarter, which rekindled fears that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates high for longer.

Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group Inc., remarked, "The market is on edge; it's critical to understand that we're one headline away from a big rally in the market."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg noted that prices of low-sulfur barrels have tumbled this week, "denting faith in how tight supplies are…that has shown up in key gauges of market health, with nearby timespreads softening markedly.

"Equity markets were also lower, and the dollar firmed on Thursday, making commodities priced in the currency less appealing."

On the Israel/Hamas front, diplomatic efforts to prevent the war from embroiling other Middle East countries continued, with French president Emmanuel Macron saying a planned ground operation in Gaza would be a mistake; however, the country's armed forces said they had entered northern Gaza to attack cells overnight before exiting the area.

In other oil related news on Thursday, unnamed sources told media that ConocoPhillips is considering a merger deal with Permian basin producer CrownRock, which is valued between $10 billion and $15 billion.

This comes on the heels of Chevron earlier this week announcing it would acquire Hess Corporation for $53 billion, and earlier this month ExxonMobil announcing a deal to buy Pioneer Natural Resources in an all-stock transaction for $59.5 billion.