Oil prices fall on Chinese economic news

Monday 20 January 2014 14.45
Oil prices ease on China demand fears
Oil prices ease on China demand fears

Oil prices fell today as China's economic growth data fuelled concerns over energy demand in the world's second largest economy.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in February, dropped 67 cents to $93.70 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for March slipped 20 cents to stand at $106.28 a barrel in London afternoon deals.

China's economy last year registered flat growth of 7.7%, maintaining its slowest expansion in more than a decade as the government warned of "deep-rooted problems" including a mountain of local authority debt.

The 2013 GDP figure was the same as that for 2012 - which was the worst rate of growth since 1999 - and matched the median forecast in a survey of 14 economists by AFP. It exceeded the government's growth target for the year, which was declared as 7.5%.

China is the world's biggest energy-consuming nation and the health of its economy is closely watched by oil traders. 

Analysts said oil prices were under pressure also over concerns about a oversupply in the US.
 
Ali Al Naimi, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia, said over the weekend that the OPEC cartel kingpin is unconcerned by a boom in US shale oil production. 

"The kingdom welcomes this new source of energy that helps fulfill the growing world demand for energy, and helps stabilise oil markets," state news agency SPA quoted Naimi as saying.

In October, oil production in the US surpassed imports for the first time in nearly two decades, helped mainly by production from newly tapped shale-based reserves.