US crude prices fall towards US$40 on global glut

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude is priced at around $40 a barrel, while Brent is trading at near $46 a barrel.

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US crude for October delivery was 59c lower at $40.73 a barrel at 3.28am GMT.

Dated Brent fell $1.15/b Wednesday to be assessed at $46.125/b, Platts data showed, its lowest since January 14 when it was $45.73/b.

Oil prices resumed their downward trend on Friday pulled lower by weaker global stock markets and a sharp contraction in China‘s manufacturing activity, with the US benchmark on track for its longest weekly losing streak since 1986.

Prices have tumbled nearly 35% since this year’s highest close in June as producers pump away even after an oversupply pushed prices into a bear market.

New EIA data sparked yet another sell off for crude oil, with WTI declining by more than 4 percent on August 19, and Brent down by 3.8 percent.

“Commodity prices are notorious for their fluctuations, so it’s hard to say how low they may fall”, he told Sputnik.

But those sentiments have changed with the latest oil price drop and as concern grows about the demand outlook in China.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. RBOB gasoline was registering the biggest percentage loss in the oil futures complex.

U.S. crude inventories rose 2.6 million barrels last week to 456.21 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said in a report on Wednesday, as imports rose and refinery utilization dropped. That total has fallen over the past few months, as it normally does, because refiners make more gasoline to meet driving demand in the summer.

“You haven’t seen a material amount of pain” among energy companies, said Adam Wise, managing director at John Hancock Financial Services, who helps oversee about $6 billion in energy-related debt and private-equity investments.

An unexpected gain in U.S. crude inventory last week followed signs that OPEC members are planning to boost production. U.S. crude output still remains near its highest level in more than 40 years.

The global Energy Agency forecast last week that production would outpace consumption by 1.4 million barrels a day in the second half of the year and by 850,000 barrels a day in 2016. It rebounded slightly in May, hitting $69 per barrel.

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That has led many analysts to predict that oil – on average around 5 percent of companies’ costs – will see price rises later this year or in 2016, pushing up inflation.

Oil's slump looks to be longterm