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Oil Pares Loses as OPEC+ Sees No Need For More Supply Hikes

Brent crude was down 80 cents, or 1.1%, at $69.79 a barrel by 1:10 p.m. EDT (17:10 GMT) after falling to $68.14 earlier in the sessions. U.S. oil fell by 87 cents, or 1.3%, to $67.57 after reaching lows of $65.73.

The market had dropped more than 3% earlier in the session after data showed Chinese factory output and retail sales growth slowed sharply in July, missing expectations as flooding and fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 disrupted business activity.

Crude oil processing in China, the world’s biggest oil importer, last month also fell to its lowest level on a daily basis since May 2020 as independent refiners cut production in the face of tighter quotas, elevated inventories and falling profits.

“(Concerns) about the spread of the Delta variant in China and the effects this will have on oil demand are continuing to weigh on prices,” Commerzbank said in a note.

However, prices rebounded slightly after sources from OPEC+, which comprises of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, said there was no need to release more oil despite U.S. pressure to add supplies to check an oil price rise.

OPEC+ agreed in July to boost output by 400,000 barrels per day a month starting in August until its current oil output reductions of 5.8 million bpd are fully phased out.

Two of the OPEC+ sources said the latest data from OPEC and from the West’s energy watchdog – the International Energy Agency (IEA) – also indicated there was no need for extra oil.

The IEA last week said that rising demand for crude oil reversed course in July and was expected to increase at a slower rate over the rest of 2021 because of surging COVID-19 infections from the Delta variant.

Money managers reduced their net-long U.S. crude futures and options holdings in the week to Aug. 10, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

Speculators also cut their futures and options positions in New York and London by 21,777 contracts to 283,601 over the period, the CFTC said.

“With COVID cases rising the demand outlook is looking unclear, so traders are increasingly wary about hedging and locking in prices,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Aaron Sheldrick in TokyoEditing by Marguerita Choy and David Evans)