Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Oil prices continue to slide as latest China data does little to lift expectations for growth

BANGKOK — The price of oil fell Monday after Chinese economic indicators did little to raise hopes for a rebound in the world's second-largest economy.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 79 cents to $91.07 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Benchmark oil fell 21 cents Friday to settle at $91.86 per barrel on the Nymex.

Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, dropped 58 cents to $113.03 per barrel in London.

Trade data released Saturday showed Chinese imports revived slightly from the previous month's contraction but grew by only 2.4 percent, suggesting a recovery has yet to take hold. Inflation eased in September, the government said Monday, but analysts doubted this would spur authorities to step up efforts to stimulate the economy.

China's economic growth fell to a three-year low of 7.6 percent in the quarter ending in June, and analysts expect growth to decline further to about 7.3 percent when the latest quarter's figures are reported this week.

On Friday, the International Energy Agency issued a new report predicting slower growth in demand for oil over the next five years. It cited the sluggish global economy and growing energy efficiency. The agency also forecast that supplies will increase, in part because U.S. production from shale formations is exceeding expectations.

"The world remains short of oil demand while the oversupply of oil continues. Global inventories are building and barring a sharp turnaround from China or any of the other major oil growth areas of the world, demand currently looks like it is going to lag supply," wrote Dominick Chirichella of CME Group in a market commentary.

In other energy trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Heating oil fell 1.6 cents to $3.208 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline dropped 1 cent to $2.804 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 4.1 cents to $3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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