Brent, WTI Prices Fall on Concerns Over Weak Demand

Brent and WTI settled down 86 cents and 21 cents respectively to stand at $76.46 and $65.74 a barrel.Brent and WTI settled down 86 cents and 21 cents respectively to stand at $76.46 and $65.74 a barrel.

Oil prices fell on Friday as concerns about surging US output and falling demand in China weighed on the contract and JP Morgan cut its price forecast.

Brent crude futures settled down 86 cents, or 1.1%, at $76.46 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures ended 21 cents lower at $65.74 a barrel. For the week, Brent fell 0.5%, while US crude slipped 0.3%, CNBC reported.

In the past three weeks, prices have declined from three-year highs as the market has contended with supply concerns. On Friday, oil prices came under pressure after data suggested Chinese demand was waning and concerns lingered about growing US output.

Hedge funds and other money managers cut their bullish bets on US crude futures in the week ended June 5, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said.

JP Morgan cut its 2018 crude forecast for WTI by $3 to $62.20 a barrel. The bank said geopolitical tensions and the lingering risk of supply disruptions may push prices higher during the second half of 2018, but expects prices to head lower late in the year and remain capped in 2019.

The futures contracts dipped after the forecast was issued and then pared losses.

China’s May crude oil imports eased away from a record high hit in the previous month, customs data showed, with state-run refineries entering planned maintenance.

May shipments were 39.05 million tons, or 9.2 million barrels per day. That compared with 9.6 million bpd in April.

Further weighing on prices has been rising US output, which hit another record last week at 10.8 million bpd.

US drillers added one oil rig in the week to June 8, bringing the total count to 862, the highest level since March 2015, General Electric Company’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report.

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