Oil prices settle lower as rebound fades

Investing.com – Oil prices settled lower Thursday as a rebound from six-month lows proved short lived as fresh demand worries and ongoing oversupply concerns quashed an intraday rebound.

By 14:30 ET (19:30 GMT), the futures settled 0.06% lower at $69.34 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.34% to $74.95 per barrel.

Rebound fades as oversupply concerns persist amid fresh demand jitters

Chinese customs figures showed that crude oil imports in November slipped by 9% compared to the same period last year, a reading that exacerbated fears over demand in the country and limited oil price gains.

A decision by rating agency Moody’s (NYSE:) to downgrade the outlook for China’s sovereign debt rating earlier this week has also dented investor sentiment. Moody’s flagged increased risks to the world’s second-largest economy from a property market meltdown, as well as a lack of clear policy support from the government.

Analysts quoted by Reuters added that markets were also worried by a higher-than-expected build in U.S. gasoline stocks, which hinted at faltering demand in the world’s biggest oil consumer. U.S. slumped to a near two-year low after the data, which also showed a larger-than-anticipated draw in overall over the week to Dec. 1.

Russian, Saudi leaders meet after OPEC+’s voluntary cuts underwhelm

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with the two reportedly discussing further co-ordination between OPEC+ member states. Saudi Arabia and Russia have led the group of major oil producers in cutting supply throughout 2023 in an attempt to give support to crude prices.

Oil prices have slipped by around 10% since OPEC+, the common moniker of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, announced output reductions last week. The cuts were only voluntary in nature for the group’s members, leaving many traders skeptical of their ability to lift prices.

But while the OPEC+ announcement underwhelmed markets, it is still expected to help tighten crude markets marginally in the first quarter of 2024. Analysts expect to trade in the low $80s in early-2024.

Scott Kanowsky and Ambar Warrick contributed to this report.

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