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Oil Prices Decline as Weakening Chinese Economy Raises Concerns


Oil prices experienced a retreat on Wednesday following the release of an economic report that unveiled weaknesses in China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, potentially impacting energy demand.

The U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, saw a 1.9% decrease, settling at $71.01 per barrel. Similarly, Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 1.7% to $76.98 per barrel. Both contracts have exhibited a decline exceeding 15% over the past three months, with minimal changes since the beginning of the year.

China’s economy witnessed a growth rate of 5.2% in 2023, narrowly surpassing the government’s lowest target in recent years. However, the report revealed delicate conditions prevailing in the property market and a consecutive decrease in the country’s population for the second year. Coupled with concerns about potential interest rate increases in the U.S. and other regions, China’s slower growth raises apprehensions regarding anticipated levels of energy consumption in the coming months.

Meanwhile, BP, a London-based oil major, announced the appointment of Murray Auchincloss as permanent chief executive officer on Wednesday. Initially assuming the role on an interim basis following Bernard Looney’s sudden resignation in September.

Prior to market opening, BP’s American depositary receipts experienced a 0.9% slip in trading. Likewise, Shell observed a decline of 2.4%, while Exxon Mobil retreated by 0.7% and Chevron lost 0.5%.

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