Crude Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower

Trading 01 mar 2019 Donner votre avis

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday as worries about demand growth resurfaced after data showed a drop in manufacturing activity in the U.S. and a decline in consumer sentiment.

Recent disappointing report on manufacturing activity in China too pushed down oil prices.

Oil prices had climbed higher over the past couple of sessions after data showed a significant drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. The U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela contributed as well to oil's rise in recent sessions.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $1.42, or 2.5%, at $55.80 a barrel.

Oil futures for April ended up $0.28, or 0.5%, at $57.22 a barrel on Thursday, after having surged up 2.6% a session earlier.

On Wednesday, crude oil futures ended up $1.44, or 2.6%, at $56.94 a barrel.

Oil futures shed about 2.6% in the week.

According to a report released on Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics, activity in China's vast manufacturing sector continued to contract in February, and at a faster rate, underscoring concerns that the world's second-largest economy is losing momentum.

A report from IHS Markit showed today that China's manufacturing activity decline eased in February with both output and new orders expanding slightly, despite weaker demand for exports.

The Caixin China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a three-month high of 49.9 in February from 48.3 in January. The reading was just below the 50-neutral mark.

Meanwhile, consumer sentiment in the U.S. rebounded by much less than initially estimated in the month of February, revised data from the University of Michigan revealed on Friday.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for February was downwardly revised to 93.8 from a preliminary reading of 95.5.

The index is still well above the final January reading of 91.2, but the revised reading came in well below analyst estimates of 95.7.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management said growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector slowed by much more than anticipated in the month of February, with the ISM Purchasing Managers Index dropping to 54.2 in the month. In January, the index had climbed to 56.6. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 55.5.

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