Industry & Money

Oil Stabilises after Sharp Drop on Demand Concerns

Oil prices were little changed after a 3% drop in the previous session as the market remains concerned about demand this year and on signs that a wider conflict in the key Middle East producing region could be avoided. Brent futures were up 29 cents, or 0.3%, at $87.58 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded 20 cents higher, or 0.2%, at $82.89 a barrel at 0413 GMT. The two benchmarks slid 3% in the previous session on signs that fuel demand this year is lower than expected amid flagging economic growth in China and as oil inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer, rose.

Analysts at JP Morgan highlighted in a note late on Tuesday that worldwide oil consumption so far in April has been 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) below its forecast, averaging 101 million bpd. From the start of the year, demand has risen by 1.7 million bpd, down from its forecast in November of 2 million bpd. At the same time, investors are discounting the chance that Israel will strongly retaliate against Iran’s missile and drone attack on April 13, which was prompted by Israel’s alleged killing of Iranian military leaders at a Syrian diplomatic site on April 1.


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