Oil lower on US, eurozone concerns
SINGAPORE – Oil prices inched lower in Asian trade Thursday as weak US consumer data and the eurozone’s financial woes dragged on sentiment ahead of a key OPEC meeting later in the day.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, was down 23 cents at $82.39 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery shed 24 cents to $96.89 in morning trade.
Retail sales in the United States fell for a second consecutive month in May, the government said Wednesday, a worrying sign that consumers are cutting back spending that fuels most of the economy.
Retail sales fell 0.2 percent, following a revised 0.2 percent decline in April, the Commerce Department said.
Oil markets were also under pressure over heightening concerns about the eurozone debt crisis, ahead of crucial elections in debt-wracked Greece on Saturday.
Dealers fear a victory for anti-austerity parties that could lead to Athens tearing up a bailout deal, which in turn would likely lead it to exit the eurozone.
Investors will also be closely watching a policy meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) later Thursday in Vienna.
The cartel – which supplies about a third of the world’s crude supplies – will decide whether to change their output target of 30 million barrels per day.
Some members, including Libya and Ecuador, have voiced concerns that the cartel was pumping too much oil and therefore depressing prices.
“Price hawks in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are fretting that slowing economic growth will send crude – already off $30 since March – plummeting further,” said Phillip Futures.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=65127