Oil Prices Steady ahead of OPEC Meeting, Global Economic Data-Heavy Week

Oil prices moved a little higher in early Asia trade on Monday as traders awaited new signals from an OPEC meeting and U.S. economic data due out this week.

By 11.28 a.m. Bangkok time, Brent oil prices were unchanged at $75.46 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at $70.66 a barrel.

An unexpectedly positive private survey for China’s manufacturing sector in June helped crude prices recover some of their earlier losses. However, June’s reading was still below May’s, suggesting that the top oil importer in the world is struggling to recover.

Both contracts increased substantially last Friday, after data revealed a larger-than-anticipated decline in the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge. The data prompted a surge in most markets on an expectation that the central bank will raise interest rates less frequently now that inflation is expected to fall inside its target range.

This week, investors are focusing mainly on a meeting between oil industry executives and energy ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies. Despite this not being a policy meeting and therefore no changes to OPEC production will be made, the oil market is looking at this for guidance as worries about weakening demand keep rising.

Markets also look at the Fed’s June meeting minutes for more information on the central bank’s plans to raise interest rates.