Oil investors are as worried about slowing demand as they are about excess supply, amid fresh concerns that the U.S.-China trade fight will hurt the global economy and curb fuel consumption.
The Wall Street Journal reported that today (Aug. 7), the U.S. crude benchmark settled 1.9 % lower at $53.63 a barrel, while Brent, the global price, slid into a bear market after falling more than 20% from its April peak to $58.94.
U.S. crude tumbled roughly 8% last Thursday, the steepest one-day drop since 2015, after President Trump announced a new round of tariffs on China. Analysts said that the latest tariff threats remain a worry and that if enacted on Sept. 1, as President Trump pledged, they could quickly sap oil demand world-wide.
“President Trump’s unexpected tariff announcement Thursday suddenly revived the specter of an economic slowdown—akin to bubonic plague for oil demand,” said Robert McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group.
August marked the seventh consecutive month that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its forecast for growth in global oil consumption for 2019. Furthermore, weekly data on gasoline demand in the U.S.—the largest gasoline consumer in the world—have disappointed market expectations. Shaky fuel demand, during the summer months when driving generally picks up, is particularly worrying to energy investors.
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