Amid analysts believing this week's losses for crude was a case of the commodity being oversold, prices for two key benchmarks on Thursday stabilized somewhat compared to the previous few sessions.
Brent settled up 47 cents to $80.01 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate settled up 41 cents to $75.74 per barrel.
Considering macro circumstances in the fundamentals as well as geopolitical realms did not change, John Evans, analyst at PVM, theorized, "It might be that this near-oversold status is causing a hiatus in selling."
In fact, more data from China on Thursday added to the gloomy demand news from that country, with key gauges of domestic demand and worsening factory-gate deflation suggesting weakness not experienced since the pandemic.
Venezuela also continued to contribute to bearish feelings: a relaxation of U.S. sanctions stoked expectations that it would provide increased crude output to the global market, and this in turn caused Callum Macpherson, head of commodities at Investec, to worry that "There is a danger the market could be in a surplus next year even if the Saudis do extend their cuts beyond the end of December."
Contrasting this, and somewhat inexplicably given central banks' repeated warnings that they would continue to raise interest rates if circumstances warranted, global markets on Thursday were reportedly upbeat with the belief that rate hikes are now over.
Also exhibiting confidence but for a different reason was Saudi Arabia's energy minister, who on Thursday stated that oil consumption remained healthy and blamed speculators for the recent drop in prices.
Meanwhile, Emma Richards, senior analyst at Fitch Solutions Ltd, told media that "China's role as a global oil demand growth engine is fading fast," and she added that over the next decade China's share of emerging market oil demand growth will decline from nearly 50 percent to just 15 percent, while India's share will double to 24 percent.