Oil stuck near $45 a barrel as investors weighed conflicting data about the economy in China, the world’s second-biggest user, while a measure of price volatility cooled to a six-week low.
Futures in New York advanced as much as 1.2 percent after closing down 0.8 percent Thursday. Data this week showed China’s industrial-company profits fell by the most in a least four years while two measures of its factory output beat expectations. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Crude Oil Volatilite Index closed at 44.61 on Thursday, the lowest since Aug. 20.
Oil has plunged more than 25 percent from this year’s closing peak in June amid speculation a global glut that drove prices to a six-year low will be prolonged. U.S. crude stockpiles are about 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average for this time of year while OPEC has produced above its output target for 16 months.
West Texas Intermediate for November delivery gained as much as 53 cents to $45.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $45.26 at 9:21 a.m. Seoul time. The contract fell 35 cents to $44.74 Thursday. The volume of all futures traded was about 64 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are down 15 percent this year.
Brent for November settlement added 43 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $48.12 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $2.89 to WTI.