Crude Oil Futures Look Volatile as Both US Fuel Stocks and Chinese Imports Fall

US crude oil futures fell in recent CFD trading activity as data showed Chinese imports of major commodities fell in March, this added to worries about oil demand.

China’s crude oil imports, in particular, eased in a recent report. According to preliminary customs data, imports fell to 5.55 million barrels per day, from 5.95 million bpd in February. Despite the fall, the oil imports were still the third highest ever for China.

Investors with a futures trading account saw US crude oil prices boosted by data showing domestic fuel stocks falling by much more than expected. The data overshadowed an increase in crude inventories.

A weaker dollar also helped support the dollar-denominated crude oil market. The euro rose against the dollar and the yen as a European Central Bank policymaker fuelled hopes of more bond-buying by the ECB. However, investors saw little reason to push the Eurozone single currency outside recent ranges.

US crude futures continued to trade in volatile fashion after data from China showed lower-than-expected quarterly economic growth, going against CFD market speculation that pushed up prices in the previous session.

According to the weekly University of Michigan survey, US consumer sentiment slipped modestly in early April due to higher gasoline prices. This also helped to pull down the crude oil futures market.

In addition, the Economic Cycle Research Institute reduced their estimate of US economic growth. That was also bearish for oil futures, though the annualized growth rate continued to improve.

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