Oil falls on economic recovery fears

15 August 2010

US’ benchmark West Texas Intermediate contract falls $5 to $77 a barrel

Oil prices fall back below $80 a barrel during the week ended 12 August as concerns over global economic growth outweighed improving demand indications.

The US’ benchmark September West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract was trading at $77.10 a barrel, down $5 from the $82.10 a barrel recorded a week before.

In Europe, the September Brent contract was also trading $5 lower than a week before, at $76.76.

Meanwhile, the average price for the oil exported by the oil cartel Opec’s 12 member states was $75.40 a barrel on 11 August, the last date information was available for at the time of writing. The cartel’s output was less heavily affected by the falls elsewhere, losing only $3 a barrel week-on-week.

Traded values fell despite a significant fall in oil stocks in the US, traditionally the world’s largest oil consumer. Inventories declined by 3 million barrels to 355 million barrels during the week ended 6 August, according to a report issued by the US’ Energy Information Administration (EIA).

During the same week, both the EIA and the Paris-headquartered International Energy Agency increased their demand predictions for the coming year.

However, a series of negative reports on the US and other economies tempered any boost the improved demand indications had on the price.

A report from the US’ Labour Department released on 11 August showed that the private sector had only added 71,000 jobs in July, well below analysts’ forecasts, and failing to make a dent in an unemployment rate of 9.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the country’s central bank, the Bank of England, warned that economic recovery in the country was likely to be bumpy, with government austerity measures and a tight credit market cutting in to growth.

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