10 September 2015 – Crude oil prices slipped a fraction in early trading on Thursday as shrinking Japanese machinery orders fueled concerns that weak levels of investment could further erode already slow growth in Asia.
Japan’s core machinery orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, fell 3.6% in July, official data showed on Thursday.
That was much worse than a 3.7% increase expected by economists, and followed a 7.9% month-on-month decline in June.
In China, Asia’s biggest economy, analysts already expect a further slowdown in economic growth, now at its lowest in a generation.
Benchmark Brent crude oil futures were trading at $47.52 per barrel early on Thursday, just below levels of their last settlement. US crude futures were virtually unchanged at $44.16 a barrel.
Oil prices have fallen by over 50% since June 2014, when soaring global output began to clash with slowing economies in Asia, the main growth engine for commodities of the last years.
The weakening in Asia’s economies and commodity demand is having far-reaching effects.