Ammon – Oil prices fell slightly in the Friday session, continuing the losses of the previous two sessions, and heading towards a weekly decline, as weak US economic data and an increase in US fuel inventories raised concerns about stagnation and slowing demand for oil.
The number of new applications for unemployment benefits in the United States increased modestly last week, indicating a gradual weakening in the labor market after the Federal Reserve (the US central bank) raised interest rates several times over a year.
US Energy Information Administration data revealed on Wednesday that US crude stocks fell more than expected last week with refinery operation and increased exports, while fuel stocks rose unexpectedly due to disappointing demand.
Implicit demand for gasoline fell 3.9 percent from a year ago to 8.5 million barrels per day. US crude inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels, but analysts said the decline may be short-lived.
The US Energy Information Administration said in a report on Wednesday that gasoline stocks jumped last week unexpectedly by 1.3 million barrels, to reach 223.5 million barrels.
“Ultimately, one of the big reasons for this decline is fear of a recession,” said Bob Yawger, executive director of energy futures at Mizuho.
By 0400 GMT, Brent crude futures for June delivery were down 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $81.03 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for June delivery fell 5 cents, or 0.06 percent, to $77.31 a barrel, according to data.
The two raw materials fell by more than two percent to their lowest levels since the end of March yesterday, Thursday, amid fears of a possible recession, and are heading towards recording a weekly decline of about six percent.