Oil bounces after steep slide, but growth fears still weigh

India will surpass China as the fastest-growing Asian market for petroleum products in 2018.|PTI

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However, doubts over the impact of planned production cuts led by OPEC to rebalance the oil market, and reports about higher inventory builds and forecasts of record shale output in the USA weighed on crude oil.

However, both crude benchmarks are still down roughly 40 percent from highs in October, pressured by concerns about oversupply and over the outlook for the global economy.

Physical prices for Brent have also fallen in the last six weeks, driven by a drop in demand from Chinese refiners in particular, which has weighed on the value of barrels of anything from the North Sea to Nigerian crude. It earlier fell to US$49.93, the lowest since July 2017.

Crude has been caught up in wider market weakness as the US government shutdown, higher US interest rates and the US-China trade dispute unnerved investors and exacerbated worries over global growth.

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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Tuesday that oil prices would become more stable in the first half of 2019.

Efforts by Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, to limit output beginning early next year by 322,000 barrels a day — more than a previously announced cut of 250,000 barrels a day for six months starting in January, according to the Wall Street Journal — had not adequately quelled concerns over supply to end 2018.

"There are several bearish factors in oil markets, and the situation won't improve anytime soon", said Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst at Rakuten Securities Inc.in Tokyo.

Markets attempted to recover from the pre-Christmas declines seen on Monday, though thin post-holiday trading did little to aid in the recovery. One of the reasons for this oil price plunge is excessive supply from US.

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USA rough CLc1 was up 74 pennies at $43.27. The contract slumped $3.06 to $42.53 on Monday.

Meanwhile, the USA administration is struggling to contain the market turmoil, which intensified in the wake of a Bloomberg News report that Donald Trump had discussed firing Powell. On BSE, over 2.82 million shares changed hands today at the SpiceJet counter, as against average daily volume of 1.14 million shares. The global benchmark crude traded at a $7.57 premium to WTI.

OPEC is said to deepen output cuts.

"But if OPEC's cuts are fulfilled, WTI prices are expected to rise to US$50-60 a barrel, while Brent is expected to go up to between US$58-70 a barrel next year". The S&P 500 Index sank 1.8 percent, with its energy index shedding 3.2 percent.

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