Oil prices fall after weak Chinese data
Singapore, Sep 15 (AFP) Oil prices fell in Asia today after a sharp slowdown in Chinese industrial production raised concerns about slackening demand in the world’s top energy consumer, analysts said.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery eased USD 1.06 to USD 91.21, while Brent crude for October fell 63 cents to USD 96.48 in mid-morning trade.
“Oil has come off a fair bit as investors are taking in the weak Chinese industrial production data released over the weekend,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.
“The figure feeds into the continuing story about slowing demand in China,” he added.
China said on Saturday that industrial production grew 6.9 per cent last month, its weakest rate since December 2008.
The key indicator slumped from 9.0 percent growth in July and was also well short of the 8.7 per cent median increase in a survey of 15 economists by The Wall Street Journal.
The figures add to worries about the world’s number two economy – a key driver of world commerce – following recent indicators suggesting growth is weakening even after limited stimulus measures.
McCarthy said dealers are also eyeing the impact of fresh Western sanctions on Russia for its alleged role in the Ukrainian insurgency.
In punitive measures announced Friday, the US targeted Russia’s top bank Sberbank as well as leading energy and technology companies.
Fresh European Union measures were also aimed at major Russian energy, finance, and defence companies, including, oil giant Rosneft.
“The fresh sanctions may hurt oil demand in the longer term, but generally they remain a secondary concern for investors at the moment,” McCarthy said. (AFP)