Oil falls as China’s economic concerns outweigh refining

Crude oil prices were lower Friday, as concerns about China’s economy outweighed strong signals from its refining sector, Kallanish Energy learns.

 But losses were limited on hopes for progress toward a U.S.-China trade agreement.

Brent crude oil futures fell 49 cents, to settle at $59.42 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures lost 15 cents, to settle at $53.78/Bbl. For the week Brent fell 1.8%, while WTI lost 1.7%.

China’s economic growth slowed to 6% year-on-year in the third quarter — its weakest in 27-1/2 years, and short of expectations — due to soft factory production and continuing trade tensions with the U.S.

China’s September refinery throughput, however, rose 9.4% year-on-year, a signal petroleum demand from the world’s biggest oil importer remained strong despite economic headwinds.

U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are working on nailing down a Phase 1 trade deal text for their presidents to sign next month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday.

The ongoing dispute has increased worries about a global recession that would lower oil demand.

In the U.S., falling product stocks countered higher U.S. crude oil stocks, which rose by 9.28 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 11.

The joint technical committee monitoring a global oil production pact put in place by Opec+, which includes most Opec producers and 10 non-Opec producers led by Russia, found compliance is being exceeded, with cuts for September representing 236% of agreed quotas, sources told Reuters.

Opec+ agreed to limit oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day (Mmbpd) until March 2020.

Opec lowered its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast to 0.98 Mmbpd while leaving its 2020 demand growth estimate unchanged at 1.08 Mmbpd, its latest monthly report said.

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