Oil slides more than 1% on China growth uncertainties

Global oil prices fell more than 1% on Monday, backing off last week’s gains, as questions over China’s economy outweighed OPEC+ output cuts and the seventh straight drop in the number of oil and gas rigs operating in the United States.

Brent crude was down 78 cents, or 1%, to trade at $75.83 a barrel by 0655 GMT, after falling as much as $1.27 to $75.34.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 76 cents, or 1.1%, to $71.02, after declining $1.15 to $70.63.

Last week, Brent posted a gain of 2.4% and WTI rose 2.3%.

A number of major banks have cut their 2023 gross domestic product growth forecasts for  China after May data last week showed the post-COVID recovery in the world’s second-largest economy was faltering.

China is widely expected to cut its benchmark loan prime interest rates on Tuesday, following a similar  reduction in medium-term policy loans last week to shore up a shaky economic recovery.

Sources have told Reuters that China will roll out more stimulus support for its slowing economy this year, but concerns over debt and capital flight will keep the measures targeted at shoring up weak demand in the consumer and private sectors.

Still, China’s refinery throughput rose in May to its second-highest total on record, helping to boost last week’s gains, and U.S. energy firms cut the number of working oil and natural gas rigs for a seventh week in a row for the first time since July 2020.

The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by 8 to 687 in the week to June 16, lowest since April 2022. , , .

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