By Ahmad Ghaddar
LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Crude prices fell more than 1% on Monday, prolonging their run for the third straight session, following official data that showed refining capacity and economic activity slowed in China, in a sign of the impact the new COVID-19 outbreaks are having.
* At 1113 GMT, Brent crude was down $ 1.08, or 1.56%, at $ 69.53 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate in the United States (WTI) was down $ 1.11, or a 1.62%, at $ 67.32.
* Manufacturing production and retail sales growth in China decelerated sharply in July, below expectations, as floods and new COVID-19 outbreaks affected business activity.
* Chinese crude processing also fell last month to its lowest level on a daily basis since May 2020, as independent refiners cut production amid tightening quotas, high inventories and declining profits. China is the world’s largest oil importer.
* “(Concerns) about the spread of the Delta variant in China and the effects it will have on oil demand continue to put pressure on prices,” Commerzbank said in a note.
* Doubts about the speed of the economic recovery also intensified after US consumer confidence plummeted in early August to its lowest level in a decade, a survey by the University of Michigan showed at the end of the week. pass.
* The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last week that rising demand for crude reversed its course in July and is expected to increase at a slower pace for the remainder of 2021 amid increasing infections with the Delta variant of COVID -19.
(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick on TokIo; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)