WTI trades near two-year low amid demand signals; brent steady

2014-10-15 10:36:28

West Texas Intermediate traded near the lowest price in more than two years as the International Energy Agency forecast the slowest consumption growth since 2009. Brent was steady in London.

Futures were little changed in New York after falling 4.6 percent yesterday, the most since November 2012. Global oil demand will rise by 650,000 barrels a day this year, the Paris-based agency said in its monthly report yesterday. That’s a reduction of 250,000 from a prior projection. Crude stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer, probably expanded by 2.5 million barrels last week, a Bloomberg News survey shows before government data tomorrow.

Oil has collapsed into a bear market as shale supplies boost U.S. output to the most in almost 30 years and global demand growth weakens. The largest producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are responding by cutting prices, sparking speculation that they will compete for market share rather than reduce supply. Iran isn’t concerned about the slide in prices, according to its deputy oil minister.

“This has been an ongoing adjustment since the news of Saudi Arabia beginning to discount prices in Asia,” Ric Spooner, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone today. “That changed market sentiment about when, or if, OPEC may tighten production. Investors are thinking that the OPEC response is going to be different this time around, particularly given the increased production from U.S. shale.”

Crude Stockpiles

WTI for November delivery was at $82.11 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 27 cents at 2:50 p.m. Singapore time. The contract dropped $3.90 to $81.84 yesterday, the lowest close since June 2012. The volume of all futures traded was 88 percent above the 100-day average. Prices have decreased 17 percent this year.

Brent for November settlement, which expires tomorrow, was 25 cents higher at $85.29 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The more-active December contract was up 36 cents at $85.77. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $3.19 to WTI, compared with $3.20 yesterday.

U.S. crude stockpiles probably climbed for a second week to 364.2 million barrels, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of nine analysts before the Energy Information Administration report tomorrow. Production rose to 8.88 million a day in the week ended Oct. 3, the most since March 1986, said the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

Relative Strength

WTI’s 14-day relative strength index is at about 23 today, near the lowest level since June 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The indicator closed below 30 the past four days, signaling this month’s rout has been excessive.

The period of declining prices will pass, said Roknoddin Javadi, Iran’s deputy oil minister and the managing director of National Iranian Oil Co., according to the state-run news agency Mehr. The Persian Gulf nation followed Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, in cutting prices to Asia last week.

OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s crude, is raising output as its members fight for market share while seeking to meet increased domestic demand. The group pumped 30.47 million barrels a day in September, the most since August 2013, its monthly report on Oct. 10 showed.

Oil ministers from Kuwait and Algeria have dismissed possible production cuts as the market’s slump prompted Venezuela to call for an emergency OPEC meeting. The group is scheduled to gather on Nov. 27.

Prices may remain volatile before the meeting in Vienna, even as a rebound “seems somewhat more logical” after the recent losses, Hans Van Cleef, an energy economist at ABN Amro Group NV in Amsterdam, said in an e-mailed report today.