Global crude demand growth will come in at 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) less than previously expected this year, around 1.14 million bpd, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) projected in its monthly oil market report.
Gasoline stocks rose by 764,000 barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 743,000-barrel gain. "Significant downside risks from escalating trade disputes spilling over to global demand growth remain". "The concerns about demand growth are still extremely strong, and US stocks have risen dramatically".
Brent crude futures were up $1.09, or 1.8%, at $61.06 by 11:11 a.m. CST (1611 GMT), having risen as much as 4.5% to $62.64.
Prior to this latest scare, some OPEC members had been anxious about the recent steep slide in prices, which have tumbled to $62 a barrel from April's 2019 peak above $75, due to concern over the U.S.
At 485.5 million barrels, USA commercial stocks were at their highest since July 2017 and about 8% above the five-year average for this time of year, the EIA said.
U.S. -China trade tensions intensified after U.S. President Donald Trump said that he was holding up a trade deal with China and had no interest in moving ahead unless Beijing agrees to four or five "major points" which he did not specify.
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West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended down $2.13, or about 4%, at $51.14 a barrel, the lowest settlement price since mid January, 2019. OPEC and the International Energy Agency are scheduled to update their demand outlook on Thursday and Friday, respectively. They will meet on June 25 and June 26 or in early July to decide whether to extend the pact.
The negative outlook is prompting hedge fund managers to exit oil positions at the fastest rate since the fourth quarter of 2018 due to increasing fears about the health of the global economy.
"Production by all 14 OPEC members dropped by 236,000 bpd to 29.88 million bpd", OPEC said.
The oil market "has already priced in" the potential supply disruptions from geopolitical tension "emanating from Iran", said Cailin Birch, economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit. Of significant impact on oil prices is the fundamental nature of supply and demand - stockpiles are reportedly high (ish) and demand is now low (ish), and may be going lower.
U.S. crude oil production decreased slightly during the week ending June 7, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday. "This would lead to a balanced market despite the vagaries of demand and Iran/Venezuela/Libya production", Goldman said in a research note.