Energy Economy

16 Aug 2023

Oil Drops Over 1% On Worries About Chinese Economy

16 Aug 2023  by reuters   

A VLCC oil tanker is seen at a crude oil terminal in Ningbo Zhoushan port, Zhejiang province, China May 16, 2017. Picture taken May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer /File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights
Oil prices fell over 1% on Tuesday on sluggish Chinese economic data coupled with fears that Beijing's unexpected cut in key policy rates was not sufficiently substantial to rejuvenate the country's sputtering post-pandemic recovery.

Brent crude futures fell $1.32, or 1.5%, to settle at $84.89 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) dropped $1.52, or 1.8% to $80.99.

Supply cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia, part of the OPEC+ group comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, have helped to galvanise a rally in prices over the past seven weeks.

Both Brent and WTI, however, have fallen for two consecutive sessions as the oil market takes a breath, said Andrew Lipow, president at Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

Weighing on sentiment, China's industrial output and retail sales data showed the economy slowed further last month, intensifying pressure on already faltering growth and prompting authorities to cut key policy rates to bolster economic activity.

When the oil market appears to be comfortable, it is often the case that China is the number one fire douser, throwing a wet blanket over those dreaming of prices north of $90, said John Evans of oil broker PVM. China is the world's biggest oil importer.

China's central bank lowered interest rates marginally after the data that highlighted intensifying pressure on the economy, mainly from the property sector, though analysts say the cut was too small to make a meaningful difference.


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