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2014-09-30 20:31:00

OIL PRICES

OIL PRICES

West Texas Intermediate crude fell from the highest price in seven days as concern eased over the risk of a supply disruption in the Middle East. Brent declined in London.

Futures dropped as much as 0.7 percent in New York. Prices capped a second weekly increase on Sept. 26 to trade at the smallest discount to Brent in a year as ample oil supplies shielded the global market from the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State. In the latest strikes conducted over the weekend, aircraft from the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates attacked four modular refineries in Syria controlled by the extremist group, U.S. Central Command said.

"The gain in front-month WTI was so big that we can now see some profit taking," Ken Hasegawa, an energy trading manager at Newedge in Tokyo, said by phone today. "A lot of longs were liquidated in the last two months as prices rose after the military strikes began, but so far there has been no supply disruption."

WTI for November delivery slid as much as 63 cents to $92.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $92.98 at 12:30 p.m. Singapore time. The contract climbed $1.01 to $93.54 on Sept. 26, the highest close since Sept. 17. The volume of all futures traded was about 14 percent above the 100-day average. Prices are down 3.1 percent this month and 5.5 percent in 2014.

Brent for November settlement decreased as much as 38 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $96.62 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $3.78 to WTI, compared with $3.46 on Sept. 26.

Syria, Iraq

The U.S.-led campaign in Syria follows bombings in Iraq against Islamic State that started last month. The fighting has largely spared the south, home to three quarters of oil output from the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Eight air strikes were conducted at the weekend against Islamic State vehicles and sites, U.S. Central Command said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. A command post north of Raqqah in Syria was attacked, while a safe house and checkpoints were destroyed in Iraq.

In Russia, the most powerful man in the nation's oil industry said U.S. sanctions won't prevent new finds. Igor Sechin, the chief executive officer of state-owned producer OAO Rosneft and a long-time ally of President Vladimir Putin, spoke as his company made a billion-barrel crude discovery in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic Ocean with Exxon Mobil Corp.

Long Positions

Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators reduced net-long positions on WTI by 4.8 percent to 193,965 contracts in the week ended Sept. 23, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

WTI's decline presents "a good time to make long positions again" as the U.S. economy shows signs of recovery, said Hasegawa at Newedge. Gross domestic product advanced at a revised 4.6 percent annualized rate in the second quarter, up from a previous estimate of 4.2 percent, the Commerce Department reported on Sept. 26.

The U.S. is the world's biggest oil user. Economic growth in China, the second-largest consumer, may slow to 6.5 percent over the next 12 months, compared with 7.5 percent currently, according to Pacific Investment Management Co.

WTI has technical resistance along its 30-day middle Bollinger Band, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Futures have halted intraday gains since mid-September near this indicator, at about $93.60 a barrel today. Sell orders tend to be clustered around chart-resistance levels.

bloomberg.com

Tags: OIL, PRICES, BRENT, WTI, SANCTIONS

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