Oil futures traded modestly lower during Thursday’s Asian session, extending losses incurred during U.S. traded Wednesday.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for September delivery fell 0.29% to USD105.29 per barrel in Asian trading Thursday despite some encouraging U.S. real estate data.
In U.S. economic news out Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index climbed to 57 this month from 51 last month. The July reading reading is the highest since January 2006. Readings above 50 indicate builders view the market as good.
New home sales advanced 8.3%, the best rate in five years. The seasonally adjusted rate was 497,000 units. Economists expected 484,000. May’s sales rate was also revised up to 459,000.
Even solid weekly inventories could not help oil higher in Asian Thursday. On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 2.8 million barrels in the week ending July 19, exceeding expectations for a decline of 2.4 million barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 364.2 million barrels as of last week.
Traders appear to still be concerned about economic data out of China last night that serves as further proof manufacturing activity in the world’s second-largest economy is slowing. China’s HSBC manufacturing PMI fell to an 11-month low of 47.7 in July, from a final reading of 48.2 last month. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 48.6.
The U.S. and China are the world’s two largest oil consumers.
Elsewhere, Brent futures for September delivery fell 0.14% to USD106.91 per barrel.
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