Oil prices rebound in Asia

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rebounded in Asia Wednesday following sharp falls the day before, with a decline in US consumer confidence and tepid data from China dampening buying sentiment.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery rose 36 cents to $91.52 a barrel in afternoon trade and Brent crude advanced 38 cents to $95.05.WTI plummeted $3.41 a barrel and Brent tumbled $2.53 Tuesday owing to a supply glut and a pick-up in the dollar, which is sitting at a six-year high against the yen and a two-year high against the euro.

After rising for four months, the Conference Board index — a key barometer of US consumer confidence — fell to 86.0 in September from 93.4 in August on mounting concerns about the jobs market.

Consumer spending is a key growth driver in the world´s biggest economy and any dip in the index indicates weak demand.

But analysts said the US outlook remains positive.

“The steeper-than-expected decline in consumer confidence would have partially contributed to the sell-off (in oil) although the extent could have been limited given that it has fallen off a really high base and ultimately sentiment remains strong in the US,” said Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.

In China official data showed manufacturing activity stalled in September as leaders struggle to address a slowdown in the world´s second-largest economy.

The official purchasing managers index (PMI) came in at 51.5 in September, unchanged from the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

On Tuesday HSBC said its September PMI came in at 50.2, the same as August but lower than a preliminary reading of 50.5. The bank´s July figure was 51.7.