Benchmark Brent falls but stays over $40 per barrel

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LONDON – Oil prices fell on Thursday after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose last week and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) lowered its demand outlook.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell 44 cents to $40.35 per barrel, after rising 2.5% the previous day.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures were down 55 cents to $37.50 a barrel as of 1130 GMT, after climbing 3.5% on Wednesday.

The EIA will release official weekly inventory data later on Thursday, a day later than normal, following this week’s U.S. Labor Day holiday.

The EIA has already cut its 2020 world oil demand growth forecast by 210,000 barrels per day to 8.32 million bpd.

Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Wednesday U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly rose by 3 million barrels in the week to Sept. 4 with coronavirus cases rising in several states.

Regarding China’s oil imports, which have supported oil in recent months, Bank ANZ said they were likely to level off as independent refineries reach their maximum quotas.

In a further bearish sign, leading commodity traders are booking tankers to store crude oil and diesel.

The rising stockpiles come ahead of a meeting on Sept. 17 of the market monitoring panel of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+.

“Despite the recent slide in oil prices, we think that the OPEC+ leadership will continue to direct its efforts towards securing better compliance rather than pushing for deeper cuts at this stage,” RBC analysts said.

Some analysts, however, saw some underlying strength in the market. Norbert Rücker, head of economics at Swiss bank Julius Baer, said the recent fall in U.S. technology equities from record highs had dragged down oil.

“We see prices moving beyond $45 per barrel later this year,” he said.

Reuters

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