(Bloomberg) -- Oil fell for a second session amid concern that a fragile economic outlook will weigh on fuel demand.
Futures declined 0.9% in New York. Policymakers in China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, are preparing for two key meetings with fresh evidence that economic growth already at its lowest in almost three decades will continue to slip. Speculators have almost tripled short positions in U.S. crude futures since mid-September as Washington and Beijing struggled to strike a trade deal, according to data on Friday.
“The driving point behind the market has been ‘demand destruction’,” said Gene McGillian, a senior analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Conn. “I think we are seeing return of that to the front burner.”
Oil has declined almost 20% from an April peak despite the world’s biggest-ever crude-supply incident with last month’s missile strike on Saudi Arabian infrastructure. Separate supply crises from Iran to Venezuela and Iraq are being drowned out by the increasingly bleak economic outlook.
“Demand fears regained the narrative and concerns about the broad macro economy continue to be in the driver’s seat,” said Michael Tran, head oil strategist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.
West Texas Intermediate for November delivery fell 47 cents to settle at $53.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent for December settlement fell 46 cents to settle at $58.96 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at a $5.45 premium to WTI for the same month.
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