Crude below $100/bbl first time since July ‘12 on China worries

16 April 2013 07:47 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Crude prices fell by more than $2.00/bbl on Tuesday, pushing ICE Brent futures below $100/bbl for the first time since July 2012, amid concerns over the impact of slowing economic growth in China on global oil demand.

At 06:22 GMT, June Brent crude on London’s ICE futures exchange was trading at $99.87/bbl, down by 76 cents/bbl from the previous close.

Earlier, the North Sea benchmark fell to a session low of $98.00/bbl, down by $2.63/bbl. ICE Brent prices fell below $100/bbl for the first time since July 2012 on Tuesday.

May NYMEX light sweet crude futures (WTI) were trading at $88.11/bbl, down by 60 cents/bbl from the previous close.

Earlier, the US benchmark fell to a session low of $86.06/bbl, down by $2.65/bbl. NYMEX WTI prices have declined to the lows last reached in December 2012.

After falling by around 3% the previous day, crude prices continued to decline on Tuesday amid heightened concerns over slowing growth in the China, the world’s second largest oil consumer.

Official data released on 15 April revealed that China’s economy grew at 7.7% in the first quarter of 2013 which was below analyst’s forecasts of close to 8%. The first quarter growth figure was also down compared with the 7.9% growth in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Weak growth figures from China have added to concerns over the US economy following disappointing US unemployment and retails sales and regional manufacturing figures.

Meanwhile, crude stockpiles in the US, the world’s largest consumer, have risen to their highest level in 30 years, buoyed by increased domestic production.

Last week, both OPEC and International Energy Agency (IEA) lowered global oil demand growth forecasts for 2013 amid concerns over the strength of the world economy.

By James Dennis