WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Crude oil prices fell sharply on Friday as worries about global economic growth increased after the latest batch of data from China showed a slower pace of growth in industrial production and retail sales.
Also, disappointing economic data from the eurozone and the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's warning on Thursday that the 'balance of risks is moving to the downside,' and the lowering of GDP and inflation forecasts for the eurozone has raised concerns that energy demand is likely to drop notably in the near to medium term.
According to the data released on Friday, China's industrial production increased at the slowest pace in three years in November and retail sales in November great at the slowest pace since 2003.
Crude oil futures for January ended down $1.38, or 2.6%, $51.20 a barrel. On Thursday, crude oil futures ended up $1.43, or 2.8%, at $52.58 a barrel, on reports that Saudi Aramco has warned U.S. refiners to prepare for a sharp reduction in cargoes in the coming month.
Crude oil futures shed 2.7% in the week.
To prevent a supply glut and to halt the slide in prices of crude, the OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed on a proposal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January.
A report from International Energy Agency (IEA) on Thursday said that total global oil supply in November fell by 360,000 barrels a day on month, as a result of outages in the North Sea and Canada, as well as a decline in Russian output.
The Agency expects oil demand growth next year to remain unchanged at 1.4 million barrels a day, but expects supply deficit in the second quarter of the year. In November, the agency had predicted a surplus for the entire year.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX