NEW YORK, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices were mixed in early Monday trading after comments from the Saudi oil ministry that the current market climate could spur demand growth.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the weak energy market should start to attract Asian buyers, who may be drawn in by the "attractiveness" of the current price for crude oil. From the perspective of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, demand from Asian economies should grow from about 16 million barrels per day to nearly 46 million bpd by 2040.
Crude oil prices moved in mixed fashion on the signal of increased future demand. The price for Brent crude oil increased 0.3 percent in early Monday trading to $47.55 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for crude oil, retreated 0.15 percent to $44.22.
Markets moved in similar fashion in April when Naimi said Saudi Arabia had enough oil on hand to meet what he expected to be increased demand from China. Saudi Arabia has maintained a high level of oil production despite the slump, arguing it needs to protect its market share in an economy in flux because of the glut of U.S. oil.
Brent at the time of the April comments sold for $65.37 per barrel and WTI was priced at $57.41
Crude oil prices have moved lower for most of 2015 as supplies continue to outweigh demand. Last week, Lee Tillman, the president and chief executive officer at Marathon Oil, said his company expects "oil prices to remain low for a longer period of time."
A series of signs that China was on its way to prolonged contraction added downward pressure to crude oil prices for most of the latter part of 2015. The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 1.6 percent in Monday trading, mirroring gains reported last week after service-sector data showed signs of recovery. That's mixed, however, as Chinese manufacturing data revealed signs of contraction.