Oil prices slip amid worries of severe economic slowdown

Oil prices slipped on Monday, with concerns of a sharp economic slowdown outweighing supply disruptions from OPEC’s production cutbacks and from U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

Brent crude oil futures were at $66.73 per barrel at 0752 GMT, down 30 cents, or 0.5 per cent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $58.69 per barrel, down 35 cents, or 0.6 per cent, from their previous settlement.

Both crude oil price benchmarks have slumped by almost three per cent since last week, hitting their highest since November 2018.

Concerns about a potential U.S. recession emerged Friday after cautious remarks by the U.S. Federal Reserve caused 10-year treasury yields to slip below the three-month rate for the first time since 2007.

Historically, an inverted yield curve – where long-term rates fall below short-term – has signalled an upcoming recession.

Adding to concerns of a widespread global downturn, manufacturing output data from Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, shrunk for the third straight month.

“Estimates for growth and earnings have been revised down materially across all major regions,’’ said U.S. bank, Morgan Stanley.

ANZ bank said the darkening economic outlook “overshadowed the supply-side issues’’ the oil market was facing amid supply cuts, led by producer club OPEC as well as the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies such as Russia, together referred to as ‘OPEC+’, have pledged to withhold around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil supply this year to prop up markets, with OPEC’s de-facto leader seen to be pushing for a crude price of over $70 per barrel. (Reuters/NAN)

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