Futures Movers: U.S. oil slips, set for back-to-back decline amid signs of fresh China weakness

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Markets/commodities reporter

Crude-oil futures on Monday were on pace to decline firmly, as global equity markets pulled back on further signs of weakness in the world’s second-largest economy, China.

West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery CLG9, -1.07%  fell 57 cents, or 1.1%, to trade at $51.02 a barrel. After finishing Friday’s trade lower but with a weekly rise of about 7.6%, according to Dow Jones Market Data. WTI %.

March Brent crude LCOH9, -0.94% meanwhile, fell 54 cents, or 0.9%, to $59.93 a barrel, with prices logging a weekly gain of 6% on Friday.

Last week, prices for oil futures rose to their highest levels since early December which helped to propel them out of a bear market, defined as a 20% decline from a recent peak.

Read: Oil prices are on the verge of busting above a bullish line in the sand—exiting bear market

Read: Here’s how closely the stock market and oil prices are tracking each other

Data showed weak China imports and exports for December, which underpinned worries of a slowdown in the global growth engine—a potential negative for oil demand.

Moreover, China’s trade surplus with the U.S. soared to a fresh record of $323.32 billion in 2018, amid Washington’s trade spate with Beijing.

“December saw Chinese trading activity decrease significantly as a result of the trade dispute with the U.S. Contrary to expectations, both imports and exports declined year-on-year,” analysts at Commerzbank wrote in a note Monday.

China’s weakness were credited with putting pressure on global stocks, including futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMH9, -0.82% DJIA, -0.02%  and the S&P 500 index ESH9, -0.84% NIFTY500, -0.51%

Christopher Alessi contributed to this article

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