Oil prices displayed limited increases on Thursday amid growing concern over the global economic slowdown and a drop in gasoline demand in the US.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $77.04 per barrel at 9.51 a.m. local time (0651GMT), a 0.12% gain from the closing price of $76.95 a barrel in the previous trading session on Friday.
The American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at the same time at $72.64 per barrel, up 0.15% from the previous session’s close of $72.53 per barrel.
US commercial crude oil inventories fell by 500,000 barrels to 459.2 million barrels during the week ending June 2, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) late Wednesday.
The fall in inventory, which was lower than the American Petroleum Institute’s expectation of a fall of 1.7 million barrels, signals recovering demand.
However, US gasoline inventories rose by around 2.7 million barrels to 218.8 million barrels during the week ending June 2, signaling a drop in demand ahead of the summer travel season, which could lead to a further economic slowdown.
The rise in gasoline inventories and data supporting expectations of a global economic slowdown stifled oil price increases.
In China, the world’s top oil importer, exports and imports fell in May, indicating that the economic recovery is still fragile.
According to the data of the General Administration of Customs, exports decreased by 7.5% to $283.5 billion in May compared to May 2022, while imports decreased by 4.5% to $217.7 billion.
Uncertainties regarding the monetary policies of global central banks are also reducing market risk appetite while putting prices under pressure.