June 15 (Reuters) – Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, rebounding somewhat from the previous day’s plunge on fears of future U.S. interest rate hikes, but the market has turned its attention to a key Chinese economic data that signals demand.
Brent crude futures rose 21 cents, or 0.3%, to $73.41 a barrel at 0009 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 23 cents, or 0.4%, to $68.50 a barrel.
Both indicators fell 1.5% on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve expected another rate hike later this year, sparking fears that a high-rate environment will slow the economy and lower oil demand. bottom.
Higher interest rates also push the dollar higher, increasing the price of US currency denominated commodities for holders of other currencies.
The US dollar gained 0.5% against basket currencies in early Thursday trading.
Thursday’s attention turned to China, the world’s largest oil importer, due to release key economic indicators for May, including retail sales and industrial production. Investors are eyeing signs of improvement in the country’s patchy economic recovery and more stimulus from Beijing.
Add to the market turmoil over weak fuel demand and the European Central Bank will almost certainly raise borrowing costs to a 22-year high on Thursday, leaving room for another rate hike.
A Reuters poll of economists found the Bank of England has yet to finish raising interest rates to combat inflation.
In another bearish sign on oil demand, U.S. crude inventories increased by about 8 million barrels in the week ending June 9, according to Energy Information Administration data. Analysts had expected a decline of 500,000 barrels.
Gasoline and diesel inventories also rose more than expected.
Reported by Arathy Somasekhar.Editing: Sonali Paul
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