By Elizabeth Low and Grant Smith
Despite positive momentum in the trade negotiations, and an array of threats to oil supply in recent months including an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, unrest in Iraq and Ecuador and the economic unraveling of Venezuela, traders continue to fret that faltering consumption and robust U.S. crude production will lead to a global surplus next year. Hedge fund bets that West Texas Intermediate futures will decline have more than doubled in the last three weeks.
“The oil market verdict continues to be bearish, both for the nearest months and for next year,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, Oslo-based chief commodities analyst at SEB AB. “The concerns over the attacks on the Iranian oil tanker last week are evaporating and the optimism over the U.S.-China trade deal is fading.”
WTI for November delivery dropped 50 cents, or 0.9%, to $54.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 10:19 a.m. in London. It advanced $1.15 on Friday, the most since Sept. 16, capping a weekly gain of 3.6%.
Brent crude for December settlement fell 58 cents, or 1%, to $59.93 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange after climbing 2.4% on Friday. The global benchmark traded at a premium of $5.65 to WTI for the same month.
“Macro sentiment will be decisive for the oil price in the very short term,” said Helge Andre Martinsen, senior oil market analyst at DNB Bank ASA. “Still, we believe the tight physical crude market eventually will push oil prices higher. We expect to see continued inventory decline into year end, the refinery margins are good, and we expect a significant ramp up of refinery runs in the weeks ahead.”
|Other oil-market news|