Oil prices dip on economic concerns, demand worries

SINGAPORE — Crude prices dipped in early trading yesterday, with Brent falling back below US$50 per barrel as economic concerns took center stage with many analysts saying oil demand will stall later this year.

International benchmark Brent crude oil futures were trading at US$49.95 per barrel at midnight, down 15 cents from their last settlement. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 39 cents at US$48.60 a barrel.

Analysts said that concerns over the global economy were weighing on the outlook for oil demand and on prices.

“The deterioration in the global economic outlook, financial market uncertainty and ripple effects on key areas of oil demand growth are likely to exacerbate already-lacklustre industrial demand growth trends,” British bank Barclays said in a note to clients.

JPMorgan also said in its latest oil market outlook that “macro-economic risks may weigh on oil prices”, although the US bank added that oil prices would still likely rise between this year and the next as stocks are drawn down, and political risk and maturing oil fields tighten the market.

JPMorgan said it expected Brent and WTI to average US$47.30 and US$46.66 per barrel respectively this year and US$56.75 a barrel for both next year.

That’s an increase of US$2 each this year and US$1.75 a barrel for both benchmarks next year, compared with the bank’s previous forecast.

In the latest sign of a glut in refined products, which traders say will reduce orders for crude oil, which is the most important refining feedstock, several tankers carrying gasoline-making components have dropped anchor off New York harbour, unable to discharge as onshore tanks are full. — Reuters

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