Oil inches higher on Opec-led cuts, but worry about global slowdown persists
Analysts say spreading economic slowdown could turn into a recession and reduce fuel consumption
Singapore — Oil prices edged up on Tuesday, lifted by supply cuts led by producer club Opec and US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, but signs of a sharp economic slowdown and potentially even a recession kept markets from rising further.
Brent crude oil futures were at $67.33 per barrel at 4.16 GMT, up 12c, or 0.2%, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $59.26 per barrel, up 44c, or 0.8%, from their last settlement.
Oil prices have been supported for much of 2019 by efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and non-affiliated allies like Russia, who have pledged to withhold around 1.2-million barrels per day (bpd) of supply in 2019 to prop up markets.
Prices have also been driven up by US sanctions on oil exporters and Opec-members Iran and Venezuela.
Yet analysts said oil prices would likely be higher by now if it was not for a spreading economic slowdown that some say could turn into a recession soon and dent fuel consumption.
“Recession risks have risen to the highest since 2008,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.
Manufacturing data from Asia, Europe and North America is pointing to a sharp economic slowdown.
“Global factory output growth slowed to a 1% rate last quarter, and indicators point to a near stall this quarter,” said JPMorgan Chase Bank. “Outside China, the Asian industry was already contracting as we turned into the New Year,” the US bank said.