Oil prices mixed after weak Chinese trade data

TOI: Oil prices were mixed in Asia on Tuesday after the latest Chinese trade data showed lacklustre demand in the world’s top energy consumer, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery fell USD 1.34 to USD 44.71 while Brent crude for October gained 44 cents to USD 48.07 in late-morning trade.

The Chinese customs administration on Tuesday said overseas shipments in August fell 6.1 per cent in yuan terms from a year earlier. This compared with a fall of 8.9 per cent in July.

Imports dropped 14.3 per cent, from an 8.6 per cent decrease in July.

“This data just reinforces the view we are still seeing weakness in the Chinese economy and this data point suggests we have not seen a bottom yet,” Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG Markets, said.

“China’s economy remains a worry for the wider world economy and global asset markets,” he added.

The data was the first in a string of economic figures this week that will be used as a barometer of the state of the Chinese economy, the world’s second-biggest and a crucial driver of global growth.

Oil prices have come under pressure from concerns that China’s slowing economy will curb demand for the commodities that have helped feed its astonishing growth over the past three decades.

The devaluation of the yuan on August 11 fuelled economic fears, sparking a slump in world equities sending commodities, as measured by the Bloomberg Commodity Index of 22 raw materials, to a 16-year-low before stabilising near current levels.

Oil prices are down almost 30 per cent from this year’s closing peak in May, according to Bloomberg News data.

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