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Oil prices squeezed by economy concerns, but OPEC output cuts provide support

Reuters  |  SINGAPORE 

By Gloystein

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - were cautious early on Friday, held back by concerns over a global economic slowdown but supported by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and U.S. sanctions against

U.S. Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.61 per barrel at 0046 GMT, down 3 cents from their last settlement. WTI dropped by around 2.5 percent the previous session.

International Brent had yet to trade.

Weighing on financial markets, including crude oil futures, were concerns that trade disputes between the and would remain unresolved, denting global economic growth prospects.

U.S. said on Thursday he did not plan to meet with Chinese before a March 1 deadline set by the two countries to achieve a trade deal.

If there is no agreement between the world's two biggest economies, Trump has threatened to increase U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports. Another round of talks is scheduled for next week in

"Crude prices returned to the lows of the week as slower growth prospects...could signal a return (of reasons) for inventories to rise," said Edward Moya, at

Despite this, traders said crude prices were prevented from falling much further by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which were introduced late last year and are aimed at tightening the market and propping up prices.

As part of these cuts, - the world's biggest crude oil of OPEC - cut its crude output in January by about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10.24 million bpd, according to OPEC sources.

Another risk to comes from after the implementation of U.S. sanctions against the OPEC-member's petroleum industry in late January. Analysts expect this move to knock out 300,000-500,000 bpd of exports.

Yet for the time being, the sanctions impact on international was limited.

"The (Venezuela) disruption overall seems manageable both for the U.S. and the global market," said Norbert Rücker, at Swiss "The sits on a comfortable cushion of supply."

(Reporting by Gloystein; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 06:24 IST