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Oil Futures Fail To Hold Gains, Settle Flat

Crude oil prices failed to hold early gains and settled roughly flat on Monday amid concerns about the outlook for oil demand due to a potential U.S. recession.

Traders also continued to assess the prospects for energy demand from China after the country decided to reopen its economy, withdrawing most anti-Covid measures.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March settled at $81.62 a barrel, down 2 cents from the previous close. WTI crude futures climbed to a high of $82.64 a barrel around noon before paring gains.

Brent crude futures were at $88.00 a barrel a little while ago.

Chinese oil demand rose by nearly 1 million barrels per day (bpd) sequentially to 15.41 million bpd in November, the highest level since February, according to recent data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative.

Comments from the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol last week that energy markets could be tighter in 2023, especially if the Chinese economy recovers and the Russian oil industry struggles under sanctions, supported oil prices.

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