OIL PRICE: NOT BELOW $ 52
REUTERS , BLOOMBERG , OILPRICE - Oil prices fell on Monday after a powerful North Korean nuclear test explosion triggered a flight of investors away from crude markets and into gold futures, which are seen as a safe haven.
Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, had fallen by almost 1 percent from their last close, or 41 cents, to $52.34 per barrel by 0655 GMT.
The drop came as traders were nervously eyeing developments in North Korea, where the military conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test over the weekend. Pyongyang said it had tested an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile, prompting the threat of a "massive" military response from the United States if it or its allies were threatened.
That put downward pressure on crude as traders moved money out of oil - seen as high-risk markets - into gold futures, traditionally viewed as a safe haven for investors. Spot gold prices rose for a third day, gaining 0.9 percent on Monday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Clc1 crude futures were more stable, at $47.30 barrel, close to their last settlement.
Traders said that the more stable U.S. crude prices were a result of production outages following Hurricane Harvey.
About 5.5 percent of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil production, or 96,000 barrels of daily output, remained shut on Sunday, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.
At the same time, refineries that use crude to make fuel were gradually starting up again, along with the pipelines transporting products.
"Traders are hopeful that crude backlogs will be cleared," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA.
Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline prices RBc1 slumped back from a spike after the release of emergency fuel stocks and on signs that the damage from Hurricane Harvey to the Gulf coast energy infrastructure was not as bad as initially feared.
Still, many analysts say it could take months before the U.S. petroleum industry fully recovers from Harvey, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott estimated damage at $150 billion to $180 billion, calling it more costly than Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, which hit New Orleans in 2005 and New York in 2012.
Storm Harvey made landfall along the Gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana last week, knocking out almost a quarter of the entire U.S. refining capacity, causing a price spike and supply gap for fuels like gasoline, which traders around the world have been scrambling to fill.
Overall trading activity in oil futures market is expected to be low on Monday due to the U.S. Labor Day public holiday.
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REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 72 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1020 GMT, having fallen by 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its largest one-day drop in a month. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55.12 per barrel, down 58 cents.
BLOOMBERG - Prices dropped during the session as the International Energy Agency said the recent recovery in oil prices, coupled with milder-than-normal winter weather, is slowing demand growth. The worsening outlook for consumption dampened some of the enthusiasm that OPEC and its allies will extend supply curbs.
Global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.
Product exports have grown significantly over the past several years and are expected to continue to grow as Russian refineries add capacity to produce more high-quality products.