By Peter Nurse
Investing.com — Oil prices fell Monday as concerns over the growth outlooks for China and Europe raised fears for the global demand picture.
By 09:25 ET (13:25 GMT), futures traded 0.2% lower at $84.86 a barrel, while the contract fell 0.2% to $91.17.
China released its third-quarter number earlier Monday, after it failed to emerge as scheduled last week, and it rose 3.9% in the July-September quarter year-on-year, rebounding at a faster-than-expected pace given the 3.5% consensus figure.
However, this was still clearly below the Communist Party’s own 5.5% target, a testament to the economic difficulties faced by the country, not least because of its Covid-zero policy, but also, increasingly, the slowdown in its key export markets in North America and Europe.
This was illustrated by China’s crude oil imports in September coming in 2% below their level a year earlier, as demand in the world’s largest importer remained subdued last month.
The economic situation looks even bleaker in Europe, with the release of purchasing manager indices for the and , both of which put GDP on track for a contraction in the fourth quarter.
The Eurozone flash PMI fell to 47.1, its lowest since December 2020, while the comparable U.K. figure fell to 47.2, as the universal pressures of inflation and supply chain problems were compounded by an avoidable political crisis.
Despite these economic woes, both the and the are expected to increase interest rates at their next meeting, on Thursday in the ECB’s case, likely hurting growth even more.
On the supply side, the next meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a group known as OPEC+, is not until the beginning of December, after announcing to cut production by 2 million barrels per day at the beginning of this month.
Additionally, the Biden administration’s plan to continue releasing oil from its strategic reserves is only likely to have a limited impact on current crude price levels, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs, in a note.
“We find incremental SPR sales as the most likely action (16 mb is available from FY2023 Congressionally mandated sales), although this remains price dependent… Such a release is likely to have only a modest influence (
U.S. energy firms added oil and rigs last week for the second week in a row, according to data from energy services firm , released Friday.
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