London: Oil prices steadied above $61 on 9 March and showed little inclination to break out of a $3 range that has held for over two weeks as other asset classes seesawed.
Investors are preoccupied by a drop in petrol stocks in the US, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (Opec) meeting to set output on 15 March and Opec producer Iran’s dispute with the UN Security Council over its uranium enrichment programme.
US crude rose five cents to $61.69 a barrel, after an 18-cent loss on 8 March. London Brent crude edged 14 cents higher to $62.47.
A drop in weekly US petrol stocks is supporting oil prices. US data on 7 March showed domestic petrol inventories down a larger-than-expected 3.8 million barrels last week.
“For today, gasoline will remain the leading indicator but we will keep also an eye on the performance of equities at the end of what was a shaky week for them,” said Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix.
Global equity markets remained on edge after last week’s sharp sell-off, sparked by a steep slide in Chinese stocks and worries about slowing US growth.
Oil has remained resilient, staying above the psychologically key $60 level. “While crude’s flat price could remain range bound in the high $50s to low $60s in the very short term, our view is that near-term price risk is to the upside. We see good fundamental support for crude in March-April,” J.P. Morgan said.