Oil slides to $106 on growth concerns
PABLO GORONDI OIL prices slid to near $106 a barrel on Tuesday as concerns about global economic growth and crude demand outweighed the supply risks posed by the prolonged tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for April delivery was down 69 cents to $106.03 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 2 cents to settle at $106.72 per barrel in New York on Monday.
In London, Brent crude was down 68 cents at $123.12 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.
On Monday, China lowered its official growth target to 7.5 percent from 8 percent, cementing concerns that the Asian exporter a bellwether for global economic activity will see business slow down.
Offsetting some of the drag on oil prices was the continuing standoff with Iran.
After a meeting on Monday in Washington, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed no sign of give on competing ways to resolve the crisis. Obama urged pressure and diplomacy to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb while Netanyahu emphasized his nation’s right to a pre-emptive attack.
The US, Europe, Israel and other nations fear that Iran may be building a nuclear weapon. Iran, the world’s third-largest oil exporter, denies the charge.
“The Iranian fear premium didn’t change in our view,” energy consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.