Oil prices have declined after data showed that China’s economic growth slowed last year.
Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 slipped 35 cents at $62.35 a barrel, while US crude futures CLc1 edged down 23 cents at $53.57 a barrel, Reuters reported.
Financial markets that were broader became weak after China’s data revealed declining growth last year, at 6.6% compared with 6.8% in 2017.
CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson was quoted by the news agency as saying: “It remains quite likely that the trade spat with the US has played a part in this latest slowdown, but investors should also factor in that it simply isn’t possible for the Chinese economy to grow at the pace that it has over the last ten years, in the next ten years, as the law of diminishing returns kicks in, and the economy becomes more mature.”
Investors are concerned with regard to a slowing global economy as it is expected to impact oil demand growth. However, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)-led production cuts are set to offer support to crude oil prices, according to analysts.
A separate report released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics revealed an increase in crude oil refinery throughput to a record 12.1 million barrels per day, representing a 6.8% rise from the previous year.
Baker Hughes said in a weekly report that energy companies in the US reduced the number of oil drilling rigs by 21 in the week ending 18 January, bringing the total count down to 852.