Oil prices fell as weak manufacturing data from Europe and Japan shifted the focus from Saudi supply to worldwide demand concerns.
Brent crude futures fell 40 cents to $64.37 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $58.31, down 33 cents, Reuters reported.
CMC Markets senior market analyst Michael McCarthy was quoted by Reuters as saying, “The demand side of the equation is back in focus,” pointing to sluggish manufacturing numbers in leading economies in Europe as well as Japan.
“That’s why we’re seeing a little bit more (downward) pressure on Brent than West Texas at the moment,” McCarthy said.
The recent drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing facility halved production in the world’s top oil exporter and forced prices to remain at comparatively higher levels for the year.
Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia has restored over 75% of crude output lost after the attacks on its plants and will return to full volumes by early next week. However, the Wall Street Journal reported that repairs at the facilities may take months longer than expected.
The UK, Germany and France supported the US in blaming Iran for the Saudi oil attack. The European powers urged Tehran to agree to new talks with world powers on its nuclear and missile programmes and regional security concerns.
Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute and the Energy Information Administration are scheduled to release their key inventory reports.