Brent crude oil continued its downward slide, falling below $98 per barrel for the first time since July. The commodity traded at $97.55 at 5:32 GMT on Thursday morning as worries about global oil demand continued to plague prices.
Stunted growth in China kicked off a week of losses for the commodity when data on Monday showed that the world's second largest oil consumer's economic growth undershot original estimates and slowed in the first quarter of 2013.
Chinese implied oil demand also dropped to a seven month low in March, which gave investors reason to believe that a significant demand recovery may not be likely.
A report from the International Monetary Fund which revised the organization's global growth projections to reflect the financial struggle in Europe and spending cuts in the US added to the momentum and dragged down prices. The IMF trimmed its global growth expectations from 3.5 percent to 3.3 percent.
The eurozone financial crisis has taken a toll on Brent prices as uncertainty throughout the region has raised concern about flagging demand. According to CNBC, Italians will begin the voting process for a new state president on Thursday after elections in February ended in a political stalemate that left the country without a government.
Continue Reading Below
This round of elections will be crucial to Italy as well as the eurozone as a whole, as a stable government will mean the nation can carry on with the fiscal reforms designed to kick start the struggling economy.
Looking ahead, markets will be focused on the OPEC, whose next meeting is scheduled for May 31st. However, in light of the falling oil prices the organization could call an emergency meeting and tighten up supplies in order to keep Brent from falling below $90 a barrel.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Copyright Benzinga. All rights reserved.