Oil ends lower—but off intraday nadir—amid supply worries

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Oil futures lost ground Monday, but ended off session lows after tumbling sharply on expectations for an increase in crude stocks at the delivery hub for U.S. futures and data showing a pickup in production by OPEC. The U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery CLU8, -0.47%  on the New York Mercantile Exchange, fell 43 cents, or 0.6%, to end at $67.20 a barrel after sinking as low as $65.71. Brent crude, the global benchmark also declines, with October crude LCOV8, -0.10%  ending down by $1.49, or 0.3%, at $72.61 a barrel on the ICE Europe exchange. Brent traded as low as $71.04. Traders said the leg down for futures came after Genscape, a market intelligence firm, predicted a rise in inventories at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub for Nymex crude futures. Official Energy Information Administration data are due Wednesday morning. The resulting weakness had taken futures below important support at $66.14 and then $66, said Robert Yawger, director of energy at Mizuho USA. The move came as speculators continued to hold large net long positions. Meanwhile, crude was already under pressure after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries earlier Monday said production by cartel members rose by 41,000 barrels a day in July even as output by Saudi Arabia fell. Also, Turkey’s currency crisis appeared to put some indirect pressure on U.S. oil futures Monday, with analysts tying modest weakness partly to a stronger dollar. Oil saw some strength at the end of last week after the International Energy Agency said renewed sanctions against Iran could create supply problems later in the year, but a firmer dollar “offset the move higher and with the start of the new week oil prices began moving downward again,” said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, in a note. Turkey’s currency USDTRY, +8.3189% plunged again on Monday, sending shock waves through other emerging markets. After falling around 10%, the lira pared gains but remained sharply lower after Turkey’s central bank made policy moves that failed to fully alleviate investor worries. The turmoil provided support for traditional haven currencies like the Japanese yen and Swiss franc and lifted the dollar versus most rivals. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +1.23% a measure of the U.S. unit against a basket of six major rivals, rose 0.1% to 96.42 to trade at a more-than-one-year high. Meanwhile, analysts at JBC Energy in Vienna said that while Turkey’s woes appeared to have little direct effect on oil last week, it was worth noting that Turkey was expected to see relatively robust growth in product demand this year of around 5%, or 50,000 barrels a day, which is now at risk. “The sharp drop in the lira is also likely to have an impact on regional refined product markets, as Turkey is one of the major importers in the Med region, with product net-imports of 360,000 [barrels a day] last year and crude imports were roughly half a million barrels a day,” they said, in a note.