Oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday as overnight data showing a surprise rise in U.S. crude inventories as well as weak data from China added to investor concerns over a prolonged trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
Global benchmark Brent crude fell nearly 1 percent to $70.56 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 1.3 percent at $60.99 per barrel.
U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly rose last week by 8.6 million barrels, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday. This compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 800,000 barrels.
The federal government’s EIA report will be released later in the day.
Meanwhile, China’s industrial production and retail sales growth eased more-than-expected in April, suggesting weak economic activity at the start of second quarter.
Industrial production advanced 5.4 percent year-on-year in April, following March’s 8.5 percent increase. The growth rate was forecast to slow moderately to 6.5 percent.
Likewise, annual growth in retail sales eased to 7.2 percent from 8.7 percent a month ago. Sales were expected to expand 8.6 percent.
On the positive side, fixed asset investment climbed 6.1 percent during January to April period compared to the 6.3 percent expansion logged in January to March period. Economists had forecast 6.4 percent growth.
Property investment increased 11.9 percent in four months to April following the 11.8 percent rise in January to March period.
Trade issues also remained foremost on investors’ radar after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated that he would be meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Japan late next month.
Trump downplayed the scope of the trade war with China and said dialogues would continue.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com