SINGAPORE (AFP) – Crude hit fresh five-year-lows Monday following another weak batch of trade data out of China, while prices were also pressured by the strengthening dollar, analysts said.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery was down 76 cents at $65.08 in afternoon trade. Brent crude slipped 87 cents to $68.20.
WTI is sitting at its lowest point since July 2009 and Brent is at lows not seen since October 2009, with the contract continuing to be hurt by OPEC’s decision last month to maintain output despite a global supply glut.
“Investors are casting their eye on the Chinese trade data at the moment… weakness could mean pressure on Brent,” said David Lennox, resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney.
China said Monday that exports grew just 4.7 per cent year-on-year to $211.66 billion in November while imports dropped 6.7 per cent to $157.19 billion.
Analysts had expected exports to grow 8.0 per cent and imports to expand 3.9 per cent.
Falling commodity prices, including oil, which has slumped by about 40 per cent since June, “will have weighed on the value of commodity imports”, research house Capital Economics said in a note.
“The sharp fall (in Chinese imports) also hints at a further cooling of domestic demand,” it said.
Trade figures out of China, the world’s top energy consumer, are closely watched for their impact on crude prices, especially the more internationally leveraged Brent contract.