Oil prices steady after overnight tumble

Oil prices steadied in early Asian trade on Tuesday after sharp falls the session before when a stronger U.S. dollar and a drop in Chinese refining runs hit the market.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures were up 6 cents, or 0.12 percent, at $50.79 at 0122 GMT. That was just above their 100-day moving average, briefly breached in the previous session.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were also up 6 cents, or 0.13 percent, at $47.65 a barrel.

Oil prices tumbled more than 2.5 percent on Monday in volatile trade.

Chinese oil refineries operated in July at their lowest daily rates since September 2016, official data showed on Monday, to ease brimming inventories as state-owned oil giants faced off independents in a retail petrol price war.

Analysts said the drop was steeper than expected, exacerbating concerns that a glut of refined fuel products could weaken Chinese demand for oil.

The dollar firmed on Tuesday after North Korea’s leader signaled that he would delay plans to fire a missile near Guam, further easing tensions and prompting investors to move back into riskier assets.

Oil prices had earlier on Monday been supported by reports that Libya’s top oilfield had cut its output by 30 percent on security concerns.

Efforts by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil producers to limit output have helped lift Brent past $50 a barrel, but concerns remain that these efforts could be undermined by producers in the U.S. and other countries.

U.S. shale oil production is expected to grow for its ninth consecutive month in September to 6.15 million barrels per day, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Monday. Source: Reuters