Oil prices stabilised yesterday at $61.58 per barrel up 8 cents after falling in the previous trading session, when markets were dragged down by growing concerns about possible economic slowdown. This development is against $60.90 recorded on Tuesday over fears of excess supply from non-OPEC member nations.
Oil markets have been underpinned this year by production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, aimed at reining in emerging supply overhang. International Brent crude oil futures were at $61.58 per barrel up 8 cents, or 0.1 per cent, from their last close, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.04 per barrel, up 3 cents.
The steadier tone followed a 2 per cent fall in crude oil futures and a slump in global financial markets on Tuesday as concerns over global growth spooked investors into looking for safe-haven assets like government bonds or gold. Japan on Wednesday reported that its December 2018 exports fell the most in more than two years, dragged down by plummeting shipments to China and wider Asia as weak global demand and U.S.-Sino trade frictions take their toll on the trade-reliant economy.
Exports in December fell 3.8 per cent from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance (MOF) data showed on Wednesday, bigger than a 1.9 per cent drop expected by economists in a Reuters poll. It was the sharpest year-on-year decline since October 2016.