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Saturday, Feb 24, 2024

Oil Updates — Prices head for another monthly decline as weak US data weighs

Oil Updates — Prices head for another monthly decline as weak US data weighs

Oil prices were heading for another monthly decline on Friday after disappointing US economic data and uncertainty over further interest rate hikes weighed on the demand outlook, according to Reuters.
Brent crude futures for June were up 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $78.91 a barrel by 1:40 p.m. while the more actively traded July contract was up 35 cent at $78.56. Brent is set for its fourth straight monthly fall.

Brent prices retraced earlier losses after data showed the euro zone returned to growth in the first quarter, albeit only modestly and more slowly than expected.

US West Texas Intermediate crude lost 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, to trade at $74.61 a barrel and is set for its sixth straight monthly decline.

Data on Thursday showed that US economic growth slowed more than expected in the first quarter.

Investors are worried that potential interest rate hikes by inflation-fighting central banks could slow economic growth and dent energy demand in the United States, Britain and the European Union. The US Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting is over May 2-3.

On the supply side, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, known collectively as OPEC+, saw no need for further output cuts despite lower than expected Chinese demand.

OPEC+ this month cut its combined output target by about 1.16 million barrels per day, which sent oil prices higher.

The market rallied on the OPEC+ announcement but has since weakened on concern about possible recession and the impact that would have on demand.

Energy Information Administration data this week showed that US crude oil and gasoline inventories fell more than expected last week as demand for the motor fuel picked up ahead of the peak summer driving season.
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