Crude oil prices have gained roughly 10 percent since hitting a low point in late December, and there are plenty of signs that suggest the market is poised to claw back some further gains in the months ahead. However, all of that depends on the health of the global economy, which is not necessarily guaranteed to cooperate. In fact, a slew of evidence is mounting that global economic activity is starting to slow. U.S. manufacturing data from December points to a slowdown. The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index declined by 5.2 points last month, the largest monthly decrease in ten years. China recently posted similar numbers. Manufacturing activity in China contracted in December, the first time it has done so in nearly two years. “That showed external demand remained subdued due to the trade frictions between China and the U.S., while domestic demand weakened more notably,” wrote […]