Oil eases from 4-month high on global growth worries

SYDNEY, March 21 (Reuters) – Oil prices edged lower on Thursday, retreating from a four-month peak, as fears of a slowing global economy weighed on market sentiment.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $60.16 per barrel at 0040 GMT, down 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last settlement. WTI had earlier hit a high of $60.19 a barrel – the highest since Nov. 12.

International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were at $68.47 a barrel, down 3 cents from their last close. Brent touched $68.57 a barrel on Wednesday, its highest since Nov. 13.

The losses came amid worries over global economic growth after the U.S. Federal Reserve highlighted signs of a slowing economy. have been underpinned, however, by efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to curb supply, and losses were checked as widely watched U.S. data showed supplies were tightening.

“Oil markets appear convinced that the continued effects of the Saudi Arabia oil production cuts and falling exports to the U.S. will continue to outweigh the concerns of rising U.S. production,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at brokerage, OANDA.

U.S. crude oil stockpiles last week fell by nearly 10 million barrels, the most since July, boosted by strong export and refining demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. EIA/S

Stockpiles USOILC=ECI fell 9.6 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 309,000 barrels. The draw brought stockpiles to their lowest since January.

Gasoline and distillate inventories both fell by more than expected. Gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI fell by 4.6 million barrels, while distillate inventories USOILD=ECI fell by 4.1 million barrels.

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