Crude Oil Lower; Slowing Chinese Business Activity Weighs By Investing.com

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By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com — Oil prices fell Monday as weak Chinese factory activity data raised fears about economic growth, and thus crude demand, at the world’s largest oil importer.

By 09:00 ET (13:00 GMT), futures traded 1.8% lower at $86.35 a barrel, while the contract fell 1.3% to $92.51. 

China’s official fell to 49.2 in October from 50.1 last month, indicating a contraction of activity, and below the expected 49.8.

This fall comes as Chinese cities have stepped up zero-COVID curbs as outbreaks widen, dampening hope of an economic recovery in the world’s second-largest economy and pressuring crude demand.

China’s crude oil imports for the first three quarters of the year fell 4.3%, the first annual decline for the period since at least 2014.

Also weighing was the news that Eurozone surged again to a new record high, climbing 10.7% on the year in October. 

This suggests the will be pressured to continue with its aggressive interest rate hikes, curtailing growth in the region which only rose by 0.2% in the third quarter, a sharp slowdown from 0.8% in the second quarter.

Additionally, the is widely expected to increase interest rates by another 75 basis points on Wednesday, its fourth such hike this year. 

Still, both oil benchmarks are on track for their first monthly gains since May, with the prospect of tightening supply helping crude markets weather headwinds from slowing economic growth.

Steep supply cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, announced at the beginning of the month, are set to come into effect on Tuesday.

“In addition to this, there is still plenty of uncertainty over the full impact of the EU ban on Russian seaborne crude oil, which comes into force on 5 December,” said analysts at ING, in a note. “Clearly, it is constructive for the market, but how constructive will depend on how much more Russian oil the likes of China and India can absorb.”

Also, OPEC raised its forecasts for world oil demand in its 2022 World Oil Outlook released Monday, saying global demand will reach 103 million barrels per day in 2023, up 2.7 million barrels per day from 2022. 

This 2023 total demand estimate is up 1.4 million barrels a day from last year’s prediction.

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