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April 17, 2020

Oil prices slip as China reports weakest economic data in decades

Global oil prices continue to slip further after China reported its weakest economic data in three decades due to the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

By Aninda Chakraborty

Global oil prices continue to slip further after China reported its weakest economic data in three decades due to the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Brent dropped by ten cents to $27.72 a barrel while US crude fell $1.54 to $18.33 per barrel, reported Reuters.

According to official data, the Chinese economy contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter of this year.

This is reportedly the worst figures posted by the Asian major since 1992 when the government started publishing quarterly records.

The data was released just after President Trump announced a three-stage process to end lockdown, a move which briefly supported the oil market.

Rystad Energy head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The enthusiasm about US President Trump’s intention to end the country’s lockdown seems to be dying down as traders realise that a full return of the economy will not come overnight.”

Last month, China’s daily crude oil throughput also dropped to a 15-month low. However, the recent relaxation of restrictions is expected to support recovery.

Last week, OPEC+, a group that includes members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other key producers such as Russia, agreed to reduce output by 10Mbpd to support the oil prices.

Recently, OPEC also lowered the 2020 global oil demand forecast due to the impact of the pandemic.

“Downward risks remain significant, suggesting the possibility of further adjustments, especially in the second quarter,” the oil cartel added in the demand forecast.

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