Oil prices hit one-month lows
World oil prices hit one-month lows on Monday as traders reacted to an uncertain outlook for energy demand in a fragile economic recovery, analysts said.
Prices hit 71.06 dollars a barrel in London and 71.34 dollars in New York -- the lowest levels since June 7.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, later stood at 71.46 dollars a barrel, down 68 cents compared with Friday's close..
Brent North Sea crude, also for August, was down 46 cents at 71.19 dollars.
"It remains to be seen whether oil prices break below the seventy dollar mark this week, which if they do, would mark the first time ... since the latter half of May," said independent analyst John Hall.
"Much will depend on whether there is a further retrenchment of risk given renewed concerns over the global economic recovery.
"As has been the case for some time now, oil price volatility has been governed by signals from the financial markets which themselves have waxed and waned given the prospects for the global economy," Hall added.
Oil prices tumbled by more than eight percent last week as weak US economic data sparked fears about the strength of the global recovery.
The US economy shed 125,000 jobs in June, official data showed. Most analysts had expected a loss of 100,000 jobs.
"Crude prices finished the week lower on Friday, as disappointing employment data in the US continued to weigh on sentiment regarding the strength of the economic recovery in America," said Westhouse Securities analyst David Hart.
The market was also slammed last week by mounting concern about an economic slowdown in Asian powerhouse China. The United States and China are the first and second biggest consumers of energy in the world.
China said on Friday that its red-hot economy expanded 9.1 percent in 2009, upwardly revised from an earlier figure of 8.7 percent.
But the revision comes ahead of second-quarter data due this month that is expected to show that the economy slowed in the three months to June.
© 2010 AFP