A hike in US crude stockpiles has pulled down oil prices, with worries of weak demand also resurfacing.

Benchmark Brent crude oil fell 60 cents to reach $71.56 per barrel after touching its lowest level in three months on 17 July, while US light crude fell 50 cents to trade at $67.58, Reuters reported.

Oil markets have fallen during the last week in the wake of rising output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other members, including Russia.

Price drops were also supported by relative improvement in supplies as disruptions have eased.

“The economic outlook is broadly positive, but a number of headwinds are emerging.”

Investors have turned their attention to the potential impact of the spiralling Sino-US trade spat on global economic growth.

BMI Research was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The economic outlook is broadly positive, but a number of headwinds are emerging, not least a stronger dollar, rising inflationary pressures and tightening liquidity. Slowing trade growth will weigh on physical demand for oil.”

The American Petroleum Institute (API) indicated that US crude inventories climbed more than 600,000 barrels for the week ending 13 July against expectations of a big fall.

ING commodities strategist Warren Patterson said: “Oil is trading lower this morning on the back of the API release, and price action later today will largely depend on what the EIA release.

“A number broadly similar to the API could put some further pressure on the market later this afternoon.”