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Oil prices slip as weak factory data fuels global demand concerns

ANN/THE STAR – Oil prices edged lower yesterday as investors absorbed a bleak outlook for fuel demand with data pointing to a global manufacturing downturn just as major crude producers meet this week to determine whether to increase supply.

Brent crude futures dropped USD0.24, or 0.2 per cent, to USD99.82 a barrel by 0634 GMT, while WTI crude futures eased USD0.10, or 0.1 per cent, to USD93.78 a barrel.

The slide came after Brent futures slumped on Monday to a session low of USD99.09 a barrel, their lowest since July 15.

The United States (US) crude benchmark dropped to as low as USD92.42 a barrel, its weakest since July 14.

“Crude prices tumbled after a wealth of factory activity data suggested the world is headed towards a giant global economic contraction, and on expectations for more oil output following a very good earnings season for oil companies,” said senior market analyst from OANDA Edward Moya in a note.

Motorists stop to get petrol at a station

Recessionary concerns were heightened on Monday as surveys from the US, Europe and Asia showed that factories struggled for momentum in July. Flagging global demand and China’s strict COVID-19 restrictions slowed production.

The price drops also come as market participants await the outcome of a meeting on Wednesday between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, together known as OPEC+, to decide on September output.

Two of eight OPEC+ sources in a Reuters survey said that a modest increase for September would be discussed at a meeting today. The rest said output is likely to be held steady.

A Fox Business news reporter said Saudi Arabia will push OPEC+ to increase oil production at the meeting.

“The upward momentums of oil prices has been gradually fading. Once the supply and demand situation shows any sign of further deterioration, oil is likely to lead the decline among commodities,” analysts from Haitong Futures said.

Meanwhile the US on Monday imposed sanctions on Chinese and other firms it said helped to sell tens of millions of dollars’ in Iranian oil and petrochemical products to East Asia as it seeks to raise pressure on Tehran to curb its nuclear programme.

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