Oil falls in early 2019 as the economy slows and supplies rise
Oil markets fell more than 1 percent in the first trading session of 2019 on Wednesday, affected by higher US production and fears of economic slowdown this year as factory activity shrank in China, the world's largest oil importer.
By 0705 GMT, Brent crude for the year was $ 53.05 a barrel, down 75 cents, or 1.4 percent, from the last close in 2018.
Western Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 58 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $ 44.83 a barrel.
Weak factory activity in December in Asia amid the Sino-US trade war and a slowdown in Chinese demand, which has hurt output in most economies, signaling a difficult start to the world's largest economic growth zone in 2019.
Oil prices in 2018 fell for the first time since 2015, with US crude futures falling about 25 percent year-on-year, while Brent fell nearly 20 percent.
In terms of production, all eyes will be on the current rise in US production and the efforts of OPEC and Russia to control supply.
The US Energy Information Administration said on Monday that US crude production rose to an all-time high of 11.537 million bpd in October.
That made the United States the world's biggest oil producer superior to Russia, which said on Wednesday its oil production in December hit a record 11.45 million bpd, up from 11.37 million bpd in November.