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Futures Movers: Oil prices on track for largest monthly gain in over a year

Oil futures rose early Monday, with both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude on track for big monthly advances following strong economic data.

Price action

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery


    rose 77 cents, or 1%, to $81.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • September Brent crude
    the global benchmark, was up 56 cents, or 0.7%, at $85.55 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. The September contract expires Monday. October Brent

    the most actively traded contract, gained 62 cents, or 0.7%, to $85.03 a barrel.

  • August gasoline
    fell 0.6% to $2.937 a gallon, while August heating oil
    was little changed at $2.959 a gallon.

  • September natural gas
    advanced 0.8% to $2.659 per million British thermal units.

Market drivers

Through Friday’s close, front-month WTI futures were up 14.1% in July, while Brent had gained 13.5% in the month to date, on track for the biggest monthly gains since May 2022, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Both WTI and Brent have seen a string of five straight weekly gains, with WTI turning positive on the year, while Brent continues to nurse a year-to-date loss of around 1%.

Crude has found its footing on expectations the market will move into deficit in the second half, aided by supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia. Analysts said investors will be eager to see if Saudi Arabia extends a voluntary, additional production cut of 1 million barrels a day that began in July through September.

Meanwhile, resilient economic data helped boost crude and gasoline futures last week, with the latter hitting 2023 highs. That said, implied gasoline demand, as reflected in the Energy Information Administration’s weekly report last Wednesday, remains lackluster, noted analysts at Sevens Report Research, in a note.

“And if that figure doesn’t rebound in the weeks ahead, it will be hard for oil prices to move beyond 2023 resistance between $80 and $83/barrel,” they wrote.

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