Oil Prices Ease As Demand Concerns Grow

Oil prices eased on Thursday as investors fretted about the global economic outlook and the negative impact on oil demand.

Benchmark Brent crude dropped half a percent to $60.88 a barrel after climbing 2.5 percent the previous day to reach its hits highest level not seen since Sept. 30 following a surprise crude inventory drawdown in the United States.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 0.6 percent at $55.63 per barrel after rising as much as 3.3 percent in the previous session.

Growth worries persist as a measure of Japanese factory activity shrank at the fastest pace in over three years in October, in yet another sign of broadening economic cracks in the face of slowing global demand and rising trade frictions.

The euro area private sector remained close to stagnation in October as manufacturing continued to shrink amid subdued expansion in services activity, survey data from IHS Markit showed.

Data released by the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday that crude inventories in the U.S. dropped by about 1.7 million barrels in the week ended October 18, as against expectations for a rise of over 2.2 million barrels.

Amid concerns of weak demand, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is mulling whether to deepen production cuts. The producers will meet to review the policy on Dec. 5-6.

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