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But by October, forecasters were warning that demand for oil would grow more slowly than previously anticipated. The same month, the stock market plunged, hammered by a sell-off in high-flying technology names, the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute and rising interest rates.

Investors began dumping risk assets, and by the end of the month, oil had plunged about $11 a barrel from its Oct. 3 high. Momentum trading and the rotation out of slumping crude futures and into rising natural gas contracts also deepened losses for oil, analysts say.

Making matters worse, when the sanctions officially snapped back into place on Iran on Nov. 5, President Donald Trump surprised the market by granting generous exemptions to the Islamic Republic’s biggest customers. That meant Saudi Arabia, Russia and several other producers had been hiking output into a market where demand growth was moderating and fewer Iranian barrels than expected were lost.

At year-end, the U.S.-China trade dispute remains unresolved, and the market remains concerned that a full-blown trade war between the world’s two biggest economies will dent fuel demand. Meanwhile, American crude output is growing more quickly than expected, with the United States topping Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s biggest producer in the second half of 2018.

However, many U.S. producers need oil prices in the $50-$55 range to break even on the cost of new wells, which is forcing some energy companies to tap the breaks, said Neal Dingmann, oil equity analyst at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey.

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South Korea economy grew at the slowest pace in six years

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Indeed, the full year told a story of increasing strain across the economy. Growth was 2.7 percent for the whole of 2018, the slowest expansion in six years but matching the 2.7 percent growth projected by the central bank.

Investor worry a slowdown in the Chinese economy and the Sino-U.S. trade war could severely dent global growth and demand for key South Korean exports items including memory chips and petrochemical products.

Growing signs of weakness in China — which has generated nearly a third of global growth in recent years — are fueling anxiety about risks to the world economy and are weighing on profits for firms ranging from Apple to big car-makers. Last year, China’s economy grew an annual 6.6 percent, the slowest pace in almost three decades, hurt by the trade war and slackening domestic demand.

December exports unexpectedly slipped as shipments to China, South Korea’s biggest export market, declined 14 percent on-year, the fastest fall in more than two years.

The pressure on the South Korean economy is expected to persist over this year, and likely keep the central bank sidelined after it raised rates in November mainly to contain a boom in parts of the nation’s property market.

The Bank of Korea holds its first meeting for the year on Thursday.

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Quake of magnitude 6.1 strikes south of Indonesia’s Sumbawa: USGS

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On the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.

Antony Dickson | South China Morning Post | Getty Images

On the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 has struck the south of the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, Reuters reported citing the United States Geological Survey.

Sumbawa is about 335 kilometers (208 miles) east of Bali among Indonesia’s southern islands. It lies 1,275 kilometers (792 miles) east of Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta.

There was no immediate tsunami warning or reports of damage or casualties from the quake, which hit at a depth of 25 kilometers (16 miles), according to Reuters.

Indonesia has been wracked by devastating quakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis in the last year, including a tsunami in the Sunda Strait that killed more than 400 people in December. The country sits on the Ring of Fire, a region close to the Pacific Ocean which is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

— CNBC contributed to this report.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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Global economic outlook, Brexit, currencies in focus

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The International Monetary Fund reduced its estimate for global growth on Monday, cautioning that the growth momentum seen in recent years is slowing.

The IMF now projects a 3.5 percent growth rate worldwide for 2019 and 3.6 percent for 2020. These are 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points below its last forecasts in October — making it the second downturn revision in three months.

“A range of triggers beyond escalating trade tensions could spark a further deterioration in risk sentiment with adverse growth implications, especially given high levels of public and private debt,” the Fund said.

These potential triggers include a “no-deal” Brexit for the U.K. and a deeper-than-envisaged slowdown in China. The IMF report comes on the back of China reporting its slowest economic growth in almost three decades.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, said: “After two years of solid expansion, the world economy is growing more slowly than expected and risks are rising. But even as the economy continues to move ahead … it is facing significantly higher risks.”

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