NEW YORK, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Signs of steady but slow growth in the global economy pushed crude oil prices lower on the first full trading day of the last week of October.
Brent crude oil was down about 0.6 percent from Friday's close to trade at $47.70 in early Monday trading. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for crude oil, traded at $44.30 per barrel, down about the same as Brent. Both indices are off at least 3.7 percent from the start of October, despite the late September rally sparked in part by Russia's military intervention in Syria.
Crude oil prices continued their slow drift lower through much of October on signs the global economy was struggling to emerge fully from the grips of recession.
The Chinese government last week cut interest rates again in an effort to slow its economic decline. Still outperforming much of the rest of the world, China is slowing steadily from double-digit growth.
Zeng Gang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the official Xinhua News Agency the rate intervention was building a foundation for "stable growth," though the economy still "faces tough challenges."
For Europe, about 18 percent of the people unemployed in the first quarter found jobs in the second quarter. Eurostat, the statistics office for the European Union, reported 14.2 million people, or about 65 percent of those unemployed in the first quarter, were still looking for work.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the 19 countries that use the euro was 11 percent. In a sign of lingering weakness, Eurostat said regional annual inflation of -0.1 percent for September was a contraction from the 0.1 percent reported the previous month.
Weak oil prices leaves energy companies with few options apart from cutting spending and staff. Danish energy company Maersk Oil said Monday it would cut about 1,200 jobs by the end of the year in an effort to streamline operations during the market downturn.
Maersk Oil Chief Executive Officer Jakob Thomasen said the market pressure from low crude oil prices is expected "to continue into 2016."