Oil futures remained largely flat, reversing gains experienced earlier in the day, amid concerns over the worsening global economic outlook that hit prices hard in the previous session.
Brent crude futures were $0.03 lower, or 0.1%, to $57.66 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $0.09, or 0.2%, to $52.73 a barrel, Reuters reported. The fears offset modest hopes for progress in resolving trade war between the US and China.
Indications of a slowdown in US economic growth and weak earnings in Europe have forced world equity benchmarks reached their lowest levels in a month, raising concerns that worldwide economy may head into recession.
Reuters quoted a note from ANZ bank, which said the market was “clearly fixated” on the potential impact of weak economic growth on oil demand, with supply-side issues taking a back seat for the moment.
US crude inventories that increased 3.1 million barrels last week also hurt sentiment in the earlier session, far exceeding analyst expectations for an increase of 1.6 million barrels.
Brent futures are now well below levels seen before September’s drone attacks on two major energy facilities owned by Saudi Aramco that halved the kingdom’s oil and gas production. The attacks resulted in production suspension of about 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, about 5% of daily global production.