Oil prices have declined as a result of a slowing down of Chinese refining activity, raising doubts over the outlook of its future crude demand alongside increasing shale output in the US.
International benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 slipped 18¢ and reached $51.92 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 fell by 12¢ to $48.70 a barrel, reported Reuters.
Data published by the National Bureau of Statistics of China showed that refineries in the country processed 45.5 million tonnes of crude oil last month, the equivalent of roughly 10.71 million barrels per day (bpd).
According to calculations by the news agency, the statistics represent the lowest daily rate of production recorded since September last year.
However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) noted that oil demand is expected to witness a growth of 1.5 million barrels per day this year, higher than the earlier prediction of 1.4 million barrels per day.
The oil market has remained oversupplied overall, buoyed by the increase in the number of US-based oil rigs by three in the week ended 11 August, representing the second increase in the country in the last three weeks.
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The total number of oil rigs in the US currently stands at 768, though the rate of addition has decelerated in the recent months due to falling crude oil prices, which has led US companies to reduce their expenditure.