Oil prices decline by over 3% for the week ending August 18

Oil prices declined over 3% during the week ending August 18 on fears of a slowdown in economic growth in China, the world’s largest oil importer, and the expectation of further interest rate hikes in the US.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $83.53 per barrel at 2.47 p.m. (1147 GMT) on Friday, decreasing by 3.1% relative to the closing price of $86.21 a barrel on Monday.

Similarly, the American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) saw losses while trading at $79.83 per barrel at the same time, posting a 3.25% drop from Monday’s session that closed at $82.51 a barrel.

Bearish data from China, the world’s second-largest crude oil consumer, continues to weigh on oil prices.

Investors are weary amid weak retail sales and industrial production data in the country, which reflects the fragility of the country’s economic recovery.

China, the top global importer of crude oil, iron, steel, copper, and coal saw declines in these imports during the first seven months of the year.

Furthermore, annual consumer inflation in the US, the world’s largest oil consumer, is exerting pressure on oil prices by raising inflationary concerns with the prospect of another interest rate hike.

Market players expect fresh rate hikes following the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee on July 25–26, when it was revealed that some members believe rate hikes will neutralize the threat of inflation.

Meanwhile, data showing a demand surge in the US is curtailing the rise in oil prices. Crude oil inventories fell by around 6 million barrels to 439.7 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration’s data released mid-week.

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