Oil prices slip

October 19, 2015 10:00 AM

Oil prices fell on Monday on concerns about the pace of economic growth in China, the world's largest energy consumer, and signs that global oversupply is curbing Saudi crude exports.

China's economy grew at the slowest pace in six years in the third quarter, according to official data released on Monday, making it more and more likely Beijing will cut interest rates to stoke activity.

Brent for December delivery was down 38 cents at $50.08 a barrel at 0807 GMT. WTI crude for November delivery traded down 35 cents at $46.91 a barrel, extending last week's steepest losses in eight weeks.

"Chinese GDP data and the rise in the Saudi stockpile due to falling crude oil exports are weighing on prices," said Tamas Varga, oil analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, shipped 278,000 barrels a day less crude oil in August, trade data showed, suggesting demand for Saudi oil is sliding as the global supply glut persists.

Meanwhile Austrian oil producer OMV lowered its oil price forecasts on Monday, seeing 2016 prices at $55 a barrel and rising to $70 a barrel in 2017, $80 a barrel in 2018 and $85 a barrel from 2019 onwards.

As a result the company also said it would take a €1 billion impairment charge on asset values in its upstream business.

Investors were also eyeing progress in the removal of western sanctions on Iran that will allow the oil-rich nation to revamp oil production and resume exports to western consumers.

The United States and the European Union on Sunday took formal legal steps to lift sanctions on Iran once Tehran meets the conditions tied to a landmark nuclear agreement with major world powers.

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Karolin Schaps, Reuters