The price of oil fell Monday on a new sign that Asian countries won’t make up for slackened oil demand in Europe.
Japan says its economy grew less than expected during the second quarter. Consumer spending, which makes up more than half the nation’s economic activity, fell, and export demand was anemic.
Economies in China, a huge importer of oil, India and other Asian countries also have slowed. That is worrisome because the Asia- Pacific region helped carry the global economy when the U.S. and Europe began to slow.
The Japan news comes after the International Energy Agency last week cut its global oil demand forecast for the year, citing “a weak economic backdrop.”
Benchmark oil fell 14 cents to finish at $92.73 per barrel in New York. The drop mirrored a decline in U.S. stock prices.
Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, rose 65 cents to end at $113.60 per barrel in London.
Brent is likely getting support from traders concerned about supply disruptions from the Middle East because of the potential for a regional conflict. That could affect shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil travels.
Meanwhile, the national average price for gasoline rose less than a penny overnight to $3.696 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That’s about 30 cents more than a month ago and nearly 10 cents more than a year ago.
Meanwhile, the chart of gas prices at The News Tribune’s Gas Deal Finder is beginning to look like an electrocardiogram with wide swings between highs and lows this summer.
Monday morning’s average price for a gallon of unleaded regular in the Tacoma was $3.87, nearly 20 cents higher than it was just a week ago.
But that price is still 45 cents less than it was during the Memorial Day weekend.
Monday’s price, however, is almost 40 cents more a gallon than it was a little more than a month ago.
Analysts are blaming a fire at Chevron’s San Francisco Bay area refinery for the spike in the last few days.Staff writer John Gillie contributed to this report