Oil heads for weekly loss on economic growth concerns

Published: August 18, 2018 00:18:17

A pump jack operating at a well site leased by Devon Energy Production Company near Guthrie, Oklahoma — Reuters

Oil prices edged up on Friday but were heading for yet another weekly decline amid increasing concern over trade disputes and slowing global economic growth that could hit demand for petroleum products, reports Reuters.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were up 30 cents at $71.73 a barrel by 0910 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 rose 18 cents to $65.64.

Brent is heading for a 1.5 per cent decline this week, a third consecutive weekly drop. WTI, meanwhile, is on track for a seventh week of losses with a fall of 3 per cent.

Traders said the main drags on prices were the darkening economic outlook because of trade tensions between the United States and China, as well as weakening currencies in emerging economies that are weighing on growth and fuel consumption.

US investment bank Jefferies said on Friday that there was an emerging "lack of demand" for crude oil and refined products, while Singaporean bank DBS said that Chinese data showed a "steady decline" in activity and that "the economy is facing added headwinds due to rising trade tensions".

Bank MUFG, meanwhile, said that the weakening Turkish lira will constrain further growth in gasoline and diesel demand this year.

Furthermore, just as demand seems to be slowing, supply looks to be rising, increasing the drag on markets.

US government data this week showed a large build in crude inventories C-OUT-T-EIA, with production C-OUT-T-EIA also increasing.

"Investors remain cautious as Wednesday's surprise gain in US stockpiles remained fresh in their minds," ANZ bank said on Friday.

A weekly report on US drilling activity is due to be published later on Friday by energy services firm Baker Hughes.

Despite the bearish factors, analysts said prices were prevented from falling further because of US sanctions against Iran, which target the financial sector from August and will include petroleum exports from November.

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