Oil edged higher on signs China may do more to boost growth, but remained within the narrow band in which it’s traded this month.

Benchmark Brent was near US$83 a barrel, after trading listlessly in a $4 range in May. While poor Chinese credit and inflation data at the weekend showed the government struggling to boost demand in the world’s top crude importer, a series of planned long-term sovereign bond sales point toward authorities seeking to do more to aid growth, and support energy consumption.

Crude has flatlined after beginning a downward arc in mid-April, with prices giving up most of the risk premium triggered by tensions in the Middle East. Last week saw the biggest reduction in net-longs for Brent, West Texas Intermediate and the three main fuel futures contracts in a year, a sign of the speed with which traders have exited the market.

“It’s been a reasonably wild ride if you go back for the last couple of months,” said Aldo Spanjer, senior commodities desk strategist at BNP Paribas, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “Right now, not many people will see the fundamentals as supportive to bring supplies back,” Spanjer said of the next production moves from OPEC+.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hayyan Abdul Ghani initially said at the weekend that Baghdad had cut production enough and wouldn’t agree to more. But later, he said that any decision was a matter for OPEC, and it would stick to whatever the group decided. The group meets with its allies June 1.

Until then, oil traders are looking ahead to a data-heavy week. In addition to monthly reports from OPEC and the International Energy Agency, there will also be inflation figures in the coming days that will shape views of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s trajectory on interest rates.


  • Brent for July settlement was 0.3 per cent higher at $83.02 a barrel at 11:20 a.m. in London. Earlier, Brent lost as much as 0.6 per cent.
  • WTI for June delivery rose 0.4 per cent to $78.55 a barrel.