Asian Imports, Middle East Conflict Affect Oil

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted August 14, 2012

Amidst indications that Europe’s reduction in oil demand won’t be compensated for by developing Asian countries, benchmark oil in New York dropped on Monday to close at $92.73 per barrel.

In Japan, consumer spending dropped, and that constitutes a majority of Japan’s economic activity. Also, Japan faced reduced demand for its exports.

To make matters worse, the economic scenario in China and India, two of Asia’s biggest importers of oil and growing economies, has slowed significantly. Since the Asia-Pacific region bore the brunt of the world’s economy when the Eurozone and the U.S. began to falter, this isn’t encouraging news.

Brent crude, most likely riding on concerns about supply interruptions in the Middle East, ended at $113.60 per barrel in London, a rise of 65 cents. The speculations of a conflict of some sort between Israel and Iran focus around possible impact to oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, which channels almost a fifth of the world’s oil.

Other petroleum prices changed as well. The gasoline national average rose by slightly less than a penny to close at $3.696 a gallon; over on the New York Mercantile, heating oil fell by roughly the same amount to $3.02 per gallon, gasoline dropped 1.32 cents to $2.99 a gallon, and natural gas closed at $2.73 per cubic feet, or a drop of 4 cents.

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