Oil prices steady after weak Chinese data, US inventories draw By– Oil prices steadied Wednesday after recent loses, as industry data showed a bigger-than-expected draw in U.S. inventories, suggesting tight conditions in the world’s largest consumer. 

At 08:40 ET (12:40 GMT),  fell 0.1% to $84.62 a barrel, while rose 0.1% to $81.45 a barrel. 

The crude benchmarks were nursing losses of around 3% this week as chatter over a potential ceasefire between Israel and Hamas saw traders price out some risk premium from oil. 

Prices also fell on Tuesday as the impact of Hurricane Beryl appeared to be much less than initially expected, with the storm weakening as it moved away from key oil infrastructure in Texas. 

US inventories see bigger-than-expected draw – API  

Data from the , released on Tuesday, showed that U.S. oil inventories fell by 1.9 million barrels (mb) last week, compared with forecasts for a draw of 0.25 mb.

Gasoline stockpiles fell by 3 mb, while distillates grew by 2.3 mb, indicating somewhat mixed demand for fuel and , amid sporadic weather conditions. 

Last week’s draw comes after an oversized draw in the prior week, as fuel suppliers geared for record-high travel demand during the Independence Day week. But it remained to be seen whether this travel demand would persist in the coming weeks, especially amid extreme weather conditions in large parts of the country. 

The API data usually heralds a similar print from , which is due later on Wednesday.

Chinese economic growth remains lackluster 

However, any positively generated by the API data was largely dimmed by data showing the economic recovery of top oil importer China remained extremely patchy.

Consumer prices in the world’s second-largest economy grew for a fifth month in June, but missed expectations, while producer price deflation persisted.

Chinese data is due on Thursday, and is likely to confirm that demand from this important source has not recovered to the levels expected at the start of the year.

Texas oil industry recovers from Beryl 

Oil and gas firms in Texas were seen restarting operations on Tuesday, while ports were set to reopen as the impact of Beryl appeared to be largely limited.

While Beryl had briefly strengthened to a hurricane as the storm made landfall on Monday, it did not appear to have left a lasting impact on oil infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Doubts over Gaza ceasefire 

Oil prices were also dented by speculation over a potential ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, as Hamas made several concessions to reach a deal with Israel. 

But expectations of a ceasefire dwindled as Israel kept up its offensive in Gaza, while Hamas leaders warned that continued aggression by Israel diminished the chances of a ceasefire. 

(Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

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