Oil prices fall over weak demand signs in US

ANKARA (AA/APP): Oil prices fell further on Friday, as investors fear the Federal Reserve will not stop raising interest rates anytime soon, despite signs of stronger demand in China.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $84.17 per barrel at 09.46 a.m. local time (0646 GMT), down 1.14% from the closing price of $85.14 a barrel in the previous trading session.

At the same time, American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $77.53 per barrel, a 1.22% drop after the previous session closed at $78.49 a barrel.
Weak demand indicators in the US, the world’s largest oil consumer, pushed down prices as investors await the Fed’s next interest rate policy.

On Tuesday, data showed that annual US consumer inflation registered at 6.4% in January, slightly easing from 6.5% in December but coming in higher than the market estimate of a 6.2% increase, according to the Labor Department figures released earlier. Also, a larger-than-expected rise in US oil inventories exerted further downward pressure on prices.

According to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) late Wednesday, US commercial crude oil inventories increased by around 16.3 million barrels to 471.4 million barrels, against the market expectation of an increase of around 321,000 barrels.

However, hopes of a stronger demand in China, the world’s largest oil importing country, are limiting further downward movements.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, more than 39.77 million air passenger trips were handled last month, surging 34.8% year on year, and recovering to 74.5% compared to the same period in 2019.

Additionally, four major airlines in China released sharply higher passenger data for last month.

According to Chinese carriers, passenger flight traffic, measured by revenue passenger kilometers, grew over 40% in January, with Air China leading the pack with a 62% jump.