Oil prices fall amid strong dollar and concerns over China's economy

Data from China on national retail sales and industrial output is expected to be out on Tuesday

People cross a street in Shanghai, China. The IEA expects the Asian country to account for more than 70 per cent of the oil demand growth this year. Reuters
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Oil prices fell on Monday after recording gains for seven straight weeks as a strong dollar and concerns about China’s economic growth weigh on demand growth.

Brent, the benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, was trading 1.07 per cent lower at $85.88 a barrel at 9.03pm UAE time. West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, was down 1.19 per cent at $82.20 per barrel.

On Friday, Brent settled 0.47 per cent higher at $86.81 a barrel, while WTI rose 0.45 per cent to settle at $83.19.

The US Dollar Index – a measure of its value against a weighted basket of major currencies – extended gains on Monday after a bigger-than-expected increase in US producer prices for July.

The producer price index for final demand rose 0.3 per cent last month, indicating stubborn inflation in the world’s largest economy, the Labour Department said on Friday.

Economists polled by Reuters were expecting the PPI to gain 0.2 per cent.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

“Hold your horses on calls that the [US Federal Reserve] is done raising rates. This was a notable increase for producer prices and that could very well keep the risk of a November Fed rate hike on the table,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.

“Given the recent trends with the economy, expectations for the August readings could rise even further. The Fed is likely done raising rates, but the data might not support that call over the next month or two,” Mr Moya said.

Last month, the Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points, its 11th increase since March 2022, and said further rate increases would be data driven.

Meanwhile, China, the world’s second-largest economy and top crude importer, is expected to release data on national retail sales, foreign direct investment and industrial output on Tuesday.

Global oil demand is set to expand by 2.2 million barrels per day this year, with the Asian country accounting for more than 70 per cent of the growth, according to the International Energy Agency.

However, growth in crude consumption is expected to slow to 1 million bpd next year as the post-pandemic economic rebound runs out of steam, the IEA said in its monthly oil market report last week.

Meanwhile, global oil supply plunged by 910,000 bpd to 100.9 million bpd in July amid a sharp reduction in Saudi Arabia’s output.

Earlier this month, the world’s largest oil exporter said it would extend its voluntary oil production cut of one million bpd until September.

The cut, which first took effect in July, could be further "extended and deepened" and is aimed at supporting the stability and balance of oil markets, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an official source from the kingdom’s Ministry of Energy.

Russia, which has pledged to lower its oil output by 500,000 bpd until year-end, will cut oil exports by 300,000 bpd in September.

Updated: August 14, 2023, 5:04 PM