Oil edged higher in a volatile session as technical market indicators signaled to traders that higher prices may be around the corner.
West Texas Intermediate managed to hold above $80 a barrel on Wednesday after swinging through much of the session. Rising US crude inventories and so far lackluster corporate earnings kept gains in check while faith in China’s rebound prodded an overall advance.
At least one technical gauge seemed to vindicate the bulls. WTI’s 25-day moving average is close to crossing over its 50-day moving average, which markets interpret as evidence of longer-term strengthening that often spurs additional buying.
Oil is largely unchanged for the month after a weak start to the year. The outlook for China and a weaker dollar — which makes commodities priced in the currency more attractive — have helped oil claw back some ground. Traders will be closely watching for signs of increasing Chinese demand once the lunar New Year festivities have concluded.
- WTI for March delivery rose 2 cents to $80.15 a barrel in New York.
- Brent for the same month fell 1 cent to $86.12 a barrel.