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Oil Prices Fall as Concerns Over Global Growth Continue to Dent Investor Sentiment

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Oil Prices Fall as Concerns Over Global Growth Continue to Dent Investor Sentiment

Oil prices slid on Thursday in Asia as lingering concerns over global economic growth continued to affect investors’ risk appetite. International Brent Oil Futures were at $60.87 a barrel at 1:42 AM ET (06:42 GMT), down 0.5%.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures were at $52.37 per barrel, also down 0.5% from their last settlement.

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2019 and 2020 global growth forecasts, citing multiple threats including a bigger-than-expected slowdown in China and the risks of a “no deal” Brexit. That came one day after China reported that its 2018 economic growth dropped to its slowest pace in nearly three decades. The data added to concerns that a widespread economic slowdown would dent growth in demand for fuel and affect energy prices.

Meanwhile, a surprise rise in U.S. stocks also kept the market under pressure. Crude inventories rose by 6.6 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 18 to 443.6 million, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). That compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 42,000 barrels. Refinery runs fell by 152,000 barrels per day, the API reported.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on crude oil inventories is due to be released on Thursday at 11:00 AM ET. Crude prices initially rose on Wednesday on hopes that China and Japan would resort to stimulus measures to avert a slowdown in their economies. As the day progressed, however, the market turned south on worries about U.S. oil inventories.