Oil futures fell from a seven week high price after new data released showed that the economic recovery in China was weaker than previously expected. Brent crude futures declined by 0.31 percent to USD $ 103.68 per barrel, while WTI crude futures declined by 0.28 percent to USD $ 88.97 per barrel. There have also been growing concerns that Europe’s debt crisis will hamper global economic growth this year, which will adversely affect the future demand in oil.
According to statements published on the Chinese Government website, the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabo, said that the labor market condition in the country was more “severe” than previously expected. This has raised speculations about the economic growth in China not being as high as previously expected, which would translate into a lower than expected demand of crude oil from the second largest consumer in the world.
Oil futures also fell owing to concerns that the economy in Europe was still not strong enough to warrant a high demand of oil from the continent. According to the BP’s Annual Statistical Review of World Energy, 16 percent of the world’s oil consumption was attributed to Europe last year. With the Euro Zone’s economy still not picking up pace, it is believed that the demand of crude oil from the Euro Zone might not match up to last year’s consumption, which has led to a decline in the price of crude futures.