Crude oil prices rose for a third consecutive day Thursday — with Brent crude reaching its highest price through the first seven weeks of 2019.
But gains were capped after the steepest decline in U.S. retail spending in a decade raised investor fears of a global economic slowdown.
Prices did come back after stock markets pared some losses. Crude oil futures also drew support from investor optimism the U.S. and China could resolve their trade differences.
Brent crude futures were up 82 cents, or 1.3%, at $64.43 a barrel at roughly 2:25 p.m. ET, down from a session high of $64.81, the highest intraday level in nearly three months.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures ended Thursday’s trading session 51 cents higher, at $54.33/Bbl, a 1% gain on the day, Kallanish Energy reports.
U.S. financial markets opened lower and global stock markets erased broad gains after retail sales in the world’s largest economy recorded the biggest drop in more than nine years in December.
The U.S. economy’s outlook was further hurt by other data showing an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week.
The price of crude has risen 20% in 2019, driven primarily by the prospect of a decline in oil supply from the Opec+ members.
The producer group agreed, effective Jan. 1, to cut crude output by a total 1.2 million barrels per day (Mmbpd). Saudi Arabia said it would cut even more in March than the deal called for.
Oil prices also drew support from a surprise increase in China’s exports in January and a sharp rise in imports of crude oil before the Lunar New Year holidays in February.
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