Oil Prices Fall 1% on Weak China Trade Data

Oil prices fell 1% on Monday in Asia after China reported weakening imports and exports in the world’s second-largest crude oil consumer.

Crude Oil WTI Futures was down 1.1%, at $51.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange by 12:37 AM ET (05:37 GMT) while Brent Oil Futures for March delivery also shed 1.1% to $59.83.

“Crude futures were back in the red as trading began for a fresh week in Asia, in tandem with most of the region’s stock markets … (as) China early Monday reported $351.76 billion trade surplus in dollar terms for 2018, the lowest since 2013,” said energy consultant Vandana Hari of Vanda Insights in a note on Monday.

For the week, the U.S. benchmark increased about 7.6%, its biggest weekly gain since June. It rallied about 6% for the week.

The number of domestic rigs drilling for oil fell by 4 to 873 in the week to Jan 4 as Baker Hughes reported Friday.

It was the second straight weekly decline in the rig count, suggesting a slowdown in crude production.

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