“Crude’s been adjusting to the economic data,” said Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics LLC, an Austin, Texas-based energy consultant. “The manufacturing number is more forward-looking. Retail sales are still pretty good, which is probably why crude didn’t sell off a lot. The data supports the notion of modest growth.”
WTI for August delivery fell 5 cents to $105.90 a barrel at 11:28 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 7.4 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. The contract climbed $1.04 on July 12, capping a 13 percent rally over three weeks.
Brent for August settlement gained 19 cents to $109 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 6.9 percent below 100-day average. Brent’s premium over WTI widened to as much as $3.43. The spread was $1.99 on July 10, the narrowest based on closing prices since November 2010.
July ManufacturingThe July manufacturing index was higher than last month’s 7.8. Readings greater than zero signal expansion in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of 50 economists called for a reading of 5.
The June retail sales growth was slower than the 0.8 percent gain forecast by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. It followed a 0.5 percent increase in May that was less than previously reported, the Commerce Department said. Consumer spending is the biggest part of the economy.
“The retail sales number is not as good as expected,” said Bill Baruch, a senior market strategist at commodities trading firm Iitrader.com in Chicago. “It’s a bearish day for crude.”
Oil was supported by concern that tension in Egypt will disrupt Middle East exports.
Egypt DemonstrationsDemonstrations in Egypt, which may target military sites, are building on efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood to squeeze the army after it pushed Mursi from power on July 3 following a wave of protests against his rule. A combined 2.24 million barrels a day of oil were shipped from the Red Sea to Europe and North America in 2011 via the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean pipeline, Energy Department data show.
“Things are still messy in Egypt and that’s supportive for oil,” said Tom Finlon, Jupiter, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics Group LLC.
Prices declined earlier as China’s economic growth slowed. Gross domestic product increased 7.5 percent in the second quarter as growth in factory output and fixed-asset investment weakened, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
China’s growth was the slowest in three quarters and extended the longest streak of sub-8 percent expansion in at least two decades.
The U.S. and China accounted for about a third of the world’s oil consumption in 2012, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
Chinese DemandOil consumption in China surged 11 percent from a year ago to about 10 million barrels a day last month, the statistics data showed.
Hedge funds increased bullish bets on WTI to the highest level since May 2011, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said July 12. Money managers boosted their net-long positions on WTI, or wagers that prices will rise, by 6.9 percent to 281,918 futures and options combined in the seven days ended July 9, the CFTC said in its Commitments of Traders report.
Bullish bets on Brent outnumbered short positions by 176,988 lots, the ICE Futures Europe said.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said price risks for Brent crude in the second half of the year have changed “to the upside” amid production losses in some Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries nations and political threats to supply.
Reductions in output from Libya, Iraq and Nigeria have the potential to limit availability, the bank said today in an e-mailed report.