Oil Futures Steady, Markets Watch Eurozone PMIs, Infections

Liubov Georges
By  Liubov Georges , DTN Energy Reporter

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- In early trade Friday, oil and refined product futures and Brent crude on the Intercontinental Exchange bumped higher, although all contracts are on track for modest weekly declines as investors gauge the state of global oil demand through overnight economic data out of the Eurozone showing steepening contraction in its services sectors hit by resurgent coronavirus infections and renewed quarantine restrictions.

The so called "second wave of coronavirus infections" across the 19-nation economic bloc has begun affecting its business activity, with non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for early October falling to 46.2 -- meaning deteriorating conditions. The reading of 50 separates contraction from expansion in the business cycle. Manufacturing activity, however, held higher for the reviewed period at 32-month high 54.4 reading, with German manufacturers reporting robust growth of 58.

Consumer confidence across the European Union took a hard beating from the resurgent virus, falling to a negative 15.5 in early October, with consumers seen pulling back on spending and driving. Traffic across the European Union fell sharply in the most recent four weeks, with some of the hardest hit countries, including Italy and the United Kingdom reporting their traffic volumes dropped below the Jan. 13 baseline, according to the data collected by Apple, Inc.

Domestically, new coronavirus cases are now back to their mid-July highs at 75,049 cases reported on Thursday, with quarantine restrictions seen tightening across some major cities.

The second wave of infections could derail the nascent recovery of the domestic labor market that has recovered more than half of the 22 million jobs lost back in March-April. U.S. Labor Department reported initial unemployment claims dropped last week to the lowest level since the pandemic began eight months ago. Claims from the prior two weeks were also revised lower, likely reflecting new data from California that paused processing first-time claims in mid-September to address fraud.

In early morning trade, the December West Texas Intermediate futures traded little changed at $40.75 barrel (bbl) and December Brent crude on ICE added 19 cents to $42.65 bbl. NYMEX ULSD November futures firmed to $1.1650 gallon and the front-month RBOB contract softened to $1.1575 gallon.

Liubov Georges can be reached at liubov.georges@dtn.com

Liubov Georges