Oil prices fall as markets brace for potential U.S. recession
Oil prices dropped on Monday as concerns of a sharp economic slowdown outweighed supply disruptions from OPEC’s production cutbacks and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
Brent crude oil futures were at $66.52 per barrel at 0102 GMT, down 51 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $58.42 per barrel, down 63 cents, or 1.1 percent, from their last settlement.
Both crude oil price benchmarks have slumped by more than 3 percent since last week hitting their highest since November 2018.
Concerns about a potential U.S. recession resurfaced late last week after bearish remarks by the U.S. Federal Reserve sent 10-year treasury yields to the lowest since early 2018.
In response, 10-year treasury yields slipped below the three-month rate for the first time since 2007. Historically, an inverted yield curve – where long-term rates fall below short-term – has signaled an upcoming recession.
Adding to the fears of a more widespread global downturn, manufacturing output data from Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, shrunk for the third straight month.
“Estimates for growth and earnings have been revised down materially across all major regions,” said U.S. bank Morgan Stanley.
ANZ bank said the darkening economic outlook “overshadowed the supply-side issues” the oil market was facing amid supply cuts led by producer club OPEC as well as the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies such as Russia, together referred to as ‘OPEC+’, have pledged to withhold around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil supply this year to prop up markets, with OPEC’s de-facto leader seen to be pushing for a crude price of over $70 per barrel.