NEW YORK (
) -- This will be a stormy week for
on worries about a negative print on upcoming economic releases and a return to crude inventory builds.
Economic events that oil traders will be watching for this week include Tuesday's Case-Shiller housing price index for July and consumer confidence numbers for September; Wednesday's crude inventory data; and Friday's Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI).
The Case Shiller housing data will be one of the biggest releases for traders, given the concern about a double-dipping housing market and the drag it would have on the U.S. economy.
Similarly, weak consumer confidence and weaker-than-expected Chicago PMI readers would bad for oil prices, as continued weakening demand both from consumer and industrial users could spook investors.
Furthermore, the release of China's PMI data on Thursday could show contraction in the country's manufacturing sector for the first time since February 2009.
"Given that China has been the ever-present bullish influence on crude prices in this global recovery due to their insatiable appetite for crude, a negative print will likely weigh on prices," said Summit Energy analyst Matt Smith.
Looking at the weekly crude oil inventory report from the Department of Energy, OptionsXpress analyst Michael Zarembski says that "traders will ponder whether the sharp declines in U.S. crude inventories the past two weeks were an aberration tied to storms in the Gulf of Mexico. If so, we could see inventories build ... putting further pressure on oil prices."
Traders will also keep their eye on Greece, as officials reconvene in Greece to further scrutinize austerity measures.
Zarembski predicts that oil prices will be range-bound between $80 and $90 per barrel this week. He said that traders prepare for any move in oil prices because of economic releases by having sell orders in place as oil prices move towards $90 and buy orders in place should oil move towards $80.
Further equity weakness and dollar strength could drive prices into the mid $70s, warns Kingsview Financial trader Matt Zeman, who looks for this week's trade to be largely influenced by the equities.
"If equities begin to stabilize, I think we will see the same in oil."
"Further equity weakness however, along with poorer-than-expected economic data ... and downside pressure will remain. And we will see oil break below $80."
"Either way, we feel that volatility in the energy sector is here to stay for a while, so investors must buckle their seatbelts."
Looking into the new month and the accompanying slew of fresh economic data, including the global PMIs and U.S. unemployment, Summit Energy's Smith notes that there is "no let-up in the potential for bad news."
Energy stock were generally falling.
was falling 0.3% to $31.57;
was tumbling 3% to $59.37;
was losing 1.9% to $52.22;
Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P.
was surrendering 2.4% to $13.63;
Cheniere Energy, Inc.
was falling 1.8% to $4.98;
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP
was rising 0.2% to $68.24; and
was lower by 1.4% to $32.24.
-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.
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