Crude oil slides below US$40 a barrel

Crude oil slides below US$40 a barrel

Crude oil slides below US$40 a barrel

Oil prices posted solid gains Wednesday as official data from the country showed a larger-than-expected gasoline inventory drawdown.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry trade group, said yesterday that USA crude oil inventories fell by 1.3 million barrels in the week ended July 30.

On Wednesday morning ET, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release official USA crude oil inventory data.

Some analysts said that it would take time for the supply in crude oil to dissipate, allowing prices to recover.

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Oil prices edged up early on Wednesday, supported by a weaker dollar, but U.S. crude futures remained below $40 (Sh4,058) per barrel and Brent was below $42 as ongoing fuel oversupply and stuttering economic growth weighed on markets.

But US crude stocks were up 0.3 percent and 14.8 percent above the same point previous year at 522.5 million barrels.

The repercussions of falling oil prices were felt on the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index, which was down by 117.01 points to 14,465.73, less than an hour before markets were to close.

"The price will probably head toward $45 a barrel for West Texas and hold around that level", said Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG Melbourne. Prices climbed 3.3 percent on Wednesday, the most in three weeks. Oil rose as United States gasoline inventories fell the most since April and refineries increased rates.

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Global oil prices may continue to slide in the second half of this year as crude entered a bearish phase again amid continuing oversupply worries, a South Korean brokerage firm NH Investment & Securities said on August 3.

At about 0300 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 27 cents to Dollars 41.10 a barrel while North Sea Brent was gained 21 cents to USD 43.31.

However, crude inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels against analysts' expectations for a decrease. "These increase the chances of a production ramp near-term, from 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 600,000 bpd", Morgan Stanley said on Wednesday, although it added that "longer-term (production) growth still looks challenging".

Despite the price gains, traders said that overall market conditions remained weak, with a production overhang in both crude and refined products weighing on markets.

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Data on Friday also showed the USA added 44 new oil drilling rigs in July, the most for a month in two years, intensifying concerns that global production could once again get to unmanageable levels like in 2014-2015.

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