Oil futures saw a slight decline in early trading on Friday amid expectations of prolonged interest rate hikes in Asia and the United States, reports Al-Seyassah daily. Brent crude futures for August delivery edged down by 11 cents to $85.60 per barrel, while US crude futures fell 9 cents to $81.20 per barrel. The market reaction comes amidst strong economic indicators, including a decrease in US oil inventories by 2.5 million barrels, as the Energy Information Administration reported.

This reduction, which matched analysts’ expectations, saw US crude stocks drop to 457.1 million barrels, while gasoline stocks also decreased by 2.3 million barrels to 231.2 million barrels, aligning with forecasts. Additionally, recent data from Japan showed a 2.5% year-on-year increase in consumer prices, reinforcing expectations of potential interest rate hikes by the country’s central bank.

Similarly, in the US, a decline in new unemployment benefit claims underscored robust job market conditions, potentially influencing the Federal Reserve to maintain higher interest rates for an extended period. These economic factors contribute to uncertainties in oil demand outlooks, influenced by broader economic conditions and policy decisions impacting global markets.

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