Bloomberg (21/01) — West Texas Intermediate crude fell amid speculation a slowing economy in China will reduce fuel demand in the world’s second-biggest oil consumer.
Futures dropped as much as 1 percent in New York after settling at a two-week high on Jan. 17. A Purchasing Managers Index on Jan. 23 will show manufacturing in China slid in January, according to a Bloomberg News survey, after government data yesterday indicated that factory output expanded at the slowest pace in five months. WTI rose last week as U.S. crude stockpiles shrank to the lowest level since March 2012.
WTI for February delivery fell as much as 94 cents to $93.43 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $93.90 at 12:27 p.m. Sydney time. The contract, which expires today, climbed 41 cents to $94.37 on Jan. 17, the highest since Jan. 2. The more actively traded March future was down 53 cents at $94.06.
Floor trading in the U.S. was closed yesterday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and transactions will be booked today for settlement purposes.
Brent for March settlement decreased as much as 6 cents to $106.29 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a $12.25 premium to WTI, compared with $11.89 on Jan. 17.