Botswana Guardian

Oil slips on weaker demand from China


Oil prices declined on Wednesday after data showed a drop in China’s half- year crude imports while expectatio­ns for a further tightening of US inventorie­s offered support.

Brent crude was down 38c, or 0.5percent, at $ 76.11 a barrel by 8.20am GMT. West Texas Intermedia­te was off by 46c, or 0.6percent, at $ 74.79 a barrel.

China’s crude imports dropped by 3percent from January to June compared with a year earlier, the first such contractio­n since 2013, as import quota shortages, refinery maintenanc­e and rising global prices curbed buying.

“Imports were scaled back as surging prices for crude oil have eroded refinery profit margins,” Eurasia Group said in a note. “If Opec doesn’t agree to raise supply soon, high oil prices will also likely lead to demand destructio­n in even more cost- sensitive emerging markets, especially India,” Eurasia said.

Disagreeme­nt over supply policy within oil cartel Opec, Russia and other producers, known as Opec+, led to the end of talks last week on boosting production without agreement.

“Oil is unlikely to break out of its July highs until some clarity appears over resolving the ... production standoff,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda. Lending support to the market, US stockpiles of oil and petrol inventorie­s fell last week, according to two market sources on Tuesday, citing American Petroleum Institute figures.

Crude inventorie­s declined by 4.1- million barrels for the week ended July 9, the sources said.

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