Oil is coming down and the focus is shifting from Saudi supplies to global demand concerns
Economy News _ Baghdad
Oil prices fell on Tuesday as weak manufacturing data in Europe and Japan focused market attention on a bleak outlook for demand and kept it out of the uncertainty surrounding supply disruptions in Saudi Arabia.
By 0624 GMT, Brent crude futures were down 40 cents to $ 64.37 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $ 58.31, down 33 cents.
"Demand side of the equation is back to focus," said Michael McCarthy, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, citing faltering manufacturing figures in major economies in Europe as well as Japan.
"That's why we see a little bit more downward pressure on Brent than West Texas right now," he said.
However, oil prices remain at relatively high levels since the start of the year following a September 14 attack on Saudi Arabia's largest oil processing plant, which halved production by the world's largest exporter.
Saudi Arabia has recovered more than 75 percent of its crude production losses after attacks on two of its facilities and will return to full quantities by early next week, Reuters reported. But the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that reforms at the two facilities could take longer than expected in months.
Mike Tran, a commodities expert at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note that increased US oil exports to Asia to replace Saudi crude and lower US imports from Iraq meant US oil inventories could fall short of expectations.