Oil prices down in Asian trade
SINGAPORE – Oil prices eased in Asian trade Monday but declines were tempered by data showing China’s economy grew in line with expectations for the April-June quarter.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in August, fell nine cents to $105.86 a barrel in late-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for August shed one cent to $108.80.
Earlier losses were narrowed by the news out of Beijing, which showed the gross domestic product expanded 7.5 percent in the second quarter, slower than the 7.7 percent in the previous three months, the National Bureau of Statistics said in Beijing.
The slowdown came amid increasing worries over the health of the Asian economic giant, which is a crucial driver of global growth.
But Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets Singapore, said the fact the figure was in line with forecasts was providing support to crude prices.
“The main thing is that it didn’t miss the estimates,” she told AFP.
Beijing also unveiled figures showing an increase in wages, which Teoh said was in line with Beijing’s efforts to boost domestic consumption as an economic driver to take up the slack from slowing exports.
She also pointed to a 13.3 percent year-on-year rise in retail sales as a positive sign for domestic demand.