Oil futures dipped Monday as increasing signs of global economic slowdown prompted risk aversion, with the increase in speculators' short positions in US crude further deepening its discount to North Sea Brent.
By 0916 GMT, US crude futures slipped by 75 cents to $98.54 a barrel. Brent crude dipped by 34 cents to $118.44. "Signs of slowdown are everywhere," Oliver Jakob with Petromatrix said.
World stocks fell to a 12-week low mainly because Chinese data highlighted concerns about weaker global growth momentum, prompting investors to unwind positions in higher-risk assets and buy government bonds.
Close to erasing 2011 gains
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The MSCI world equity index fell to its weakest since mid-March. The index lost nearly 8 per cent since hitting a three-year peak in late April and is very close to erasing all of its 2011 gains.
Further pressure came from Saudi Arabia's divergence with the rest of Opec last week. Riyadh will raise output to 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in July, Saudi newspaper Al Hayat reported, as Riyadh goes it alone in pumping more outside official Opec policy, aiming to place additional supplies among Asian buyers.
The discount of US crude to Brent crude widened to a record $20.03 a barrel.
Pressure on discount
"The main driver is Friday's CFTC report showing money managers increased short positions in US crude in the week before the Opec meeting. It is pressuring the discount on US crude," Jakob added.
On Friday, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said the "money manager" speculator group cut its net long position on US crude futures by a sharp 15 per cent in the week to June 7 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.