Oil prices dipped on Wednesday on increasing signs of a global economic slowdown, although OPEC-led supply cuts helped support Brent crude above $60 per barrel.
International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were at $60.53 per barrel at 0403 GMT, down 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were down 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $52 a barrel.
Prices were weighed down as signs of a global economic slowdown mounted.
China, Asia’s biggest economy, faces rising trade uncertainties this year, a commerce ministry official said on Wednesday, after the government earlier this week reported poor December trade data, with both exports and imports contracting from a year earlier.
In Japan, core machinery orders slowed sharply in November in a sign corporate capital expenditure could lose momentum as a bruising U.S.-China trade war spills into the global economy.
Adding to the trade woes, the U.S. economy is taking a larger-than-expected hit from a partial government shutdown, White House estimates showed on Tuesday, as contractors and even the Coast Guard go without pay and talks to end the impasse seem stalled.
The outlook for the global economy darkened further when British lawmakers on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal to leave the European Union.
Oil prices are receiving support from supply cuts started late last year by producer group the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and major non-OPEC producer Russia.
However, surging U.S. crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA, which hit a record 11.7 million barrels per day late last year, threatens to undermine the OPEC-led efforts.
U.S. crude oil output is expected to rise to a record of more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd) this year and to climb to nearly 13 million bpd next year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday in its first 2020 forecast.
With so much uncertainty around demand and supply, the outlook for oil markets is unclear.
Oil prices are expected to oscillate close to current levels, according to a large annual survey of energy professionals conducted by Reuters between Jan. 8 and 11, with Brent prices in 2019 expected to average $65 per barrel, unchanged from surveys in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
“Fundamentals offer no clear price direction,” said Norbert Ruecker, head of commodity research at Swiss bank Julius Baer.
“The oil market remains amply supplied and prices are set to trade rangebound,” he said. “Softening demand makes too-high prices short-lived … Similarly, (supply) cuts and slowing shale output make too-low prices short-lived.”
Reporting by Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE and Colin Packham in SYDNEY; Editing by Joseph Radford and Richard Pullin
Oil prices soar more than 10% after Saudi plant attacks
Oil prices surged more than 10 percent Monday after attacks on two Saudi Arabian plants that slashed output in the world's top producer by half, with Donald Trump blaming Iran and raising the possibility of a military strike on the country.
West Texas Intermediate jumped 10.68 percent to $60.71 and Brent climbed 11.77 percent to $67.31 in early Asia trading following the blasts at facilities run by state-owned giant Aramco.
The attack by Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump used to play Elton John at ‘eardrum-rupturing decibels’ on campaign plane for a bizarre reason: AP reporter
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski mocked President Donald Trump's fixation on singer Elton John.
The rock legend reportedly rejected his longtime fan's invitation to perform at his January 2017 inauguration, and Trump has bitterly fixated on breaking John's attendance records at arenas where he holds campaign rallies.
"The saddest part of this story was when Donald Trump asked his staff members had anybody been writing about the Elton John attendance records that he supposedly broke," Scarborough said. "They said no, and he was angry and upset for days about that, also claiming that it was one more example of how, in the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, he don't get no respect."
‘RIP GOP’: Polling expert predicts devastating Trump 2020 electoral wipeout
Democratic pollster and strategist Stanley Greenberg went on CNN Monday to explain why he believes President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are headed toward a historic and humiliating defeat in the 2020 elections.
In an interview with CNN's John Berman, Greenberg discussed his new book called "RIP GOP" in which he makes a case that Trump's presidency has shifted public opinion in Democrats' favor while repelling moderate voters from the Republican Party.
"I think what happened going into 2016 is Donald Trump took over the Tea Party base of the party, allied it with evangelicals and took the party to a very extreme end," he said. "I believe... Donald Trump's election will speed the defeat of the Republican Party because of its dominance by the Tea Party and evangelicals, which won't consider compromise, which won't consider a multicultural America in a part of our future. And I also thought it would speed up the resistance and also people's consciousness of what they believe and their values, and all of that has happened."