Oil prices ease as market awaits China data to gauge demand

3 weeks ago 30

Pump jacks operate in front of a drilling rig in an oil field in Midland, Texas, U.S.

Pump jacks operate in front of a drilling rig in an oil field in Midland, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

TOKYO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Oil prices eased on Tuesday, giving up most of the gains from the previous day, on concerns over weak demand in China, with investors focusing on trade data due later in the day to gauge demand from the world's second-largest oil consumer.

Brent crude futures fell 23 cents, or 0.3%, to $84.95 a barrel by 0127 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $80.59 a barrel, down 23 cents, or 0.3%.

Both benchmarks gained about 30 cents on Monday after top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to extra voluntary oil supply cuts until the end of the year.

"Oil prices were supported by continued output cuts by Saudi and Russia the previous day but investors' attention has shifted to demand, especially in China," said Toshitaka Tazawa, an analyst at Fujitomi Securities, noting all eyes are on data from China this week.

China will release its import and export figures for October on Tuesday at 0300 GMT, while bank lending, credit and key consumer price inflation (CPI) data is due on Thursday.

"We expect to see a tug-of-war at the levels near the current oil prices going forward, while digesting news on both supply and demand sides," Tazawa said, adding the trend may change dramatically if the Middle East situation becomes more tense.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would consider "tactical little pauses" in Gaza fighting to facilitate the entry of aid or the exit of hostages, but again rejected calls for a general ceasefire despite growing international pressure.

Saudi Arabia confirmed on Sunday it would continue with its additional voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) translating into production of about 9 million bpd for December, a source at the ministry of energy said in a statement.

Moscow also announced it would continue its additional voluntary supply cut of 300,000 bpd from its crude oil and petroleum product exports until the end of December.

Also on supply side, Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA is in talks with local and foreign oilfield firms to hire equipment and services that would allow it to revive depressed output, sources close to the meetings said, after the U.S. relaxed sanctions on the country.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Jamie Freed

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Yuka Obayashi reports on Japan's energy, metals and other commodities. Signal phone number: 81-90-2520-3273

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