New York - Oil prices fell more than 1% on Monday after more poor Chinese economic figures fanned fears of lower worldwide oil demand.
Brent crude futures lost $1.07 to settle at $60.94 a barrel, a 1.73 percent loss. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 58 cents to settle at $51.93 a barrel, a 1.10 percent loss. Prices have fallen around 20% since a 2019 high reached in April, in part due to concerns about the U.S.-China trade war and disappointing economic data. China’s industrial output growth unexpectedly slowed to a more than 17-year low, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday. It grew 5.0% in May from a year earlier, missing analysts’ expectations of 5.5% and well below April’s 5.4%. U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping could meet at the G20 summit in Japan later this month. Trump has said he would meet with Xi at the summit, although China has not confirmed the meeting.
“All the major reporting agencies are reporting that demand is going to be weaker,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “That has played into the market malaise. Things we would normally rally off of, we’re not.” Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowered its Brent price forecast to $63 per barrel from $68 a barrel for the second half of 2019 on faltering demand. Worries remained about increased tensions in the Middle East following last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The United States blamed the attacks on Iran but Tehran denied involvement.