Oil traded near one-month lows on Tuesday after a surprise fall in gasoline demand in the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, and on doubts whether oil producers can agree an output freeze to dampen a global supply glut.
U.S. gasoline demand, one of the strongest pillars supporting oil consumption, fell in January for the first time in 14 months, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed.
The world’s largest oil producers are due to meet in Doha on April 17 to negotiate an output freeze, but a jump in Russian oil production to a 30-year high in March has cast doubt over the chances of an output cap being agreed.
Iran, meanwhile, continues to ramp up oil exports and has said it will not join fellow OPEC and non-OPEC members in a production freeze. Those sentiments were reinforced on Tuesday when Deputy Oil Minister Marzieh Shahdaei said that she had no plans to attend the Doha meeting.
Brent crude, the global oil price benchmark, was down 27 cents at $37.42 a barrel at 1238 GMT, close to a one-month low. U.S. futures fell by 28 cents to $35.42.