Oil prices were little changed on Monday, as worries over a possible recession offset an outlook for higher fuel demand with the upcoming US summer driving season and Shanghai’s plans to reopen after a two-month coronavirus lockdown.

Brent crude futures were up 32 cents, or 0.3%, to $112.90 a barrel by 1743 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 33 cents, or 0.3%, at $119.97.

“There are black clouds gathering around the financial markets here and it has started to impact crude oil,” said Bob Yawger, Director of Energy Futures at Mizuho.

“The economic wellbeing of the global economy is questionable at this point,” he added.

Multiple threats to the global economy topped the worries of the world’s well-heeled at the annual Davos economic summit on Monday, with some flagging the risk of a worldwide recession.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said she did not expect a recession for major economies but also could not rule one out.

Losses were limited by expectations that gasoline demand would remain high as the United States was set to enter its peak driving season beginning on Memorial Day weekend at the end of this week.

Despite fears that soaring fuel prices could dent demand, analysts said mobility data from TomTom and Google had climbed in recent weeks, showing more drivers on the road in places such as the United States.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2022.

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