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Global growth concerns taper oil prices

LONDON, January 22, 2019 – Oil prices slid about 1% on Tuesday in Asia as global growth worries continued to stoke concerns over future fuel demand.

International Brent Oil Futures were at $62.07 per barrel at 1:31 AM ET (06:31 GMT), down 1.1%.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI futures were at $53.55 per barrel, down 0.9%.

Weakening global economic data were cited as a headwind for oil prices. On Monday, China reported that its 2018 economic growth dropped to its slowest pace in nearly three decades, although analysts later pointed to the fact that the slowdown was in line with expectations and simply reflected a normal part of the economic cycle.

“Slowing manufacturing activity in China is likely weighing on demand,” said Singapore-based tanker brokerage Eastport in a Reuters report.

 

Just hours after the release of the GDP data, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced it is cutting its 2019 and 2020 global growth forecasts.

The IMF now projects a 3.5% growth rate worldwide for 2019 and 3.6% for 2020. These are 0.2 and 0.1% points below its last forecasts in October.

The fund cited China-U.S. trade disputes, a renewed tightening of financial conditions, and the risks of a “no deal” Brexit and a deeper-than-anticipated slowdown in China as the reasons for the downgrade.

Meanwhile, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, warned on Tuesday that economic pressure will hit the job market.

“From the viewpoint of ‘changes’, the external environment is complex and austere,” said Meng Wei, spokeswoman at the NDRC.

“Within the changes, there is something to worry about, and there is downward pressure on the economy. To a certain extent, the pressure will be passed onto jobs,” Meng added.

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