Brent crude futures lost $1.07 yesterday to settle at $60.94 a barrel, a 1.73 percent loss. And at 9.21am BST today, Brent crude futures were down further to $60.73 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 58 cents to settle at $51.93 a barrel, down 1.10 percent yesterday, and this morning WTI crude futures were again down to at $51.79 a barrel. Oil prices have been impacted in recent months as concerns over the US-China trade war continue to rise, leaving the price of oil down 20 percent since a 2019 high reached in April. The impact of the spat has seen Chinese industrial output growth unexpectedly slowed to a more than 17-year low, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed last week.
It grew 5.0 percent in May from a year earlier, missing analysts’ expectations of 5.5 percent and well below April’s 5.4 percent.
US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping could be scheduled for an awkward encounter at the G20 summit in Japan later this month.
President Trump has said he would meet with President Xi at the summit, although China has not confirmed the meeting.
Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, said: “All the major reporting agencies are reporting that demand is going to be weaker.
“That has played into the market malaise.
“Things we would normally rally off of, we’re not.”
Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowered its Brent price forecast to $63 per barrel from $68 a barrel for the second half of 2019 on faltering demand.
Last week saw oil prices rise after two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were attacked.
The United States blamed the situation on Iran but Tehran denied involvement.
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday that countries need to cooperate on keeping shipping lanes open for oil and other energy supplies to ensure stable supplies.
Market participants also await a meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, to decide whether to extend a production cut agreement that ends this month.
The group has been considering since last month moving the date of their policy meeting in Vienna to July 3-4 from June 25-26.
After a meeting on Monday, Iran’s oil minister said he told his Russian counterpart that he still disagreed with the early July dates but could attend if the dates were shifted to July 10 to 12, the Iranian oil ministry’s news agency SHANA reported.
OPEC+ agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day from 1 January.
In the US, oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise by about 70,000 barrels per day in July to a record 8.52 million barrels per day, the US Energy Information Administration said.