Crude oil prices started the new year with losses on Wednesday as the glut of global oil supply in conjunction with low economic growth prospects for 2019 worry investors.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $53.17 per barrel at 0635 GMT with a 1.2 percent decline after it ended 2018 at $53.80 a barrel on Monday.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $44.90 a barrel at the same time, posting a 2.1 percent loss after it closed Monday at $45.89 per barrel.
Led by Saudi Arabia, OPEC and its allies, including Russia, agreed on Dec. 7 to curb their total oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) starting in January, however, U.S. shale oil output is expected to continue rising and fill the supply void in the market.
Total crude oil production in the U.S. reached a record high level of 11.7 mbpd for the week ending Dec. 21, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Friday, marking the 40th time it showed an increase in the past 50 weeks.
Purchasing managers’ index, which indicates the health of the manufacturing sector, fell to 47.7 in December in Taiwan, from 48.4 in November. Readings below 50 for the index show contraction in a country's factory activity.
In China, the index fell to 49.4 in December, its lowest level since February 2016, to post its first monthly decline since July 2016. The growth rate of the world's second biggest economy is estimated to decline to 6.5 percent for 2018, down from 6.7 percent in 2017.
The trade tension between the U.S. and China also weighs on global economic growth for 2019, which is expected to slow this year.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Nov. 21 lowered its global growth estimate for this year to 3.5 percent, from its previous estimate of 3.7 percent, citing "trade conflicts."
The International Monetary Fund on Oct. 8 also lowered its forecast for global economic growth for 2019 to 3.7 percent, from its earlier estimate of 3.9 percent.
By Ovunc Kutlu