Oil prices slip as economic worries offset tightening supplies

Crude futures slipped on Monday as concerns over slowing global growth outweighed the prospect of tightening supply after talks among key producers to raise output in coming months stalled.

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Brent crude for September fell $1.14, or 1.5%, to $74.41 per barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for August was at $73.37 a barrel, down $1.20, or 1.6%.

Both benchmarks fell around 1% last week but still hover near highs last reached in October 2018.

The spread of coronavirus variants and unequal access to vaccines threaten the global economic recovery, finance chiefs of the G20 large economies warned on Saturday.

A Reuters tally of new COVID-19 infections shows them rising in 69 countries, with the daily rate pointing upwards since late-June and now hitting 478,000.

“The market has been a bit negative as of late amid the growing sense that the latest OPEC+ impasse could be a precursor to a pump-and-grab scenario, meaning a lot more oil potentially gets put on the market,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

Oil prices slumped last Tuesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, a group known as OPEC+, did not reach an agreement to increase output from August. This was because the United Arab Emirates rejected a proposed eight-month extension to OPEC+ output curbs.

The world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia met full contractual demand for crude oil from five buyers in August, but turned down at least two requests for additional volumes.

Front-month WTI crude futures posted their sixth weekly gain last week after a bullish report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude and gasoline stocks fell while gasoline demand reached its highest since 2019.

In response to higher oil prices, U.S. energy firms added oil and natural gas rigs for a second week in a row, data from Baker Hughes showed.

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