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Title: Oil sheds more than $1 as China data disappoints

August 15, 2022 03:10 AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

Oil prices fell for a second session on Monday as weak Chinese economic data raised concerns about demand in the world's largest crude importer, while Saudi Aramco's chief executive said the company is ready to increase production.

By 02:31 AM ET, Brent crude futures were down $1.14, or 1.2%, at $97.01 a barrel by 0631 GMT, after trading 1.5% lower on Friday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $91.03 a barrel, down $1.06, or 1.2%, after a 2.4% decline in the previous session.

China's economy unexpectedly slowed in July, while refinery output fell to 12.53 million barrels a day, the lowest since March 2020, government data showed.

"Official data suggests oil demand is weakening as domestic logistics and consumer demand are deterred by record high oil prices," said Heron Lin, an economist at Moody's Analytics.

He added that oil demand could remain on a downward trend for the rest of the year as looming COVID-19 restrictions encourage precautionary saving and reduce oil consumption.

Saudi Aramco is ready to increase its crude oil production to its maximum capacity of 12 million barrels per day if the Saudi government demands it, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser told reporters Sunday.

Oil prices rose more than 3% last week after a damaged oil pipeline disrupted production on several offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and investors scaled back expectations for interest rate hikes in the United States.

A Louisiana official said that after repairs were completed late Friday, producers resumed some of the disrupted production.

Global oil markets continued to be supported by tight supplies ahead of EU sanctions on Russian crude and refinery supplies this winter.

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