Oil prices wavered on Monday, as renewed concerns over waning demand in the United States and China, coupled with mixed signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve, kept markets uncertain.
Brent crude futures for January were down 8 cents at $81.35 a barrel at 0916 GMT, after losing $1 in earlier trading, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for December were at $77.11, down 6 cents.
Prices gained nearly 2% on Friday as Iraq voiced support for oil cuts by OPEC+, but lost about 4% for the week, recording a three-week losing streak for the first time since May.
“Investors are more focused on slow demand in the United States and China while worries over the potential supply disruptions from the Israel-Hamas conflict have somewhat receded,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, president of NS Trading, a unit of Nissan Securities.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said last week crude oil production in the United States this year will rise by slightly less than previously expected while demand will fall.
Next year, per capita U.S. gasoline consumption could fall to the lowest level in two decades, it said.