Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oil Falls Third Day as U.S. Job Loss Forecast Spurs Demand Growth Concern


Crude oil fell for a third day as forecasts that the U.S. lost more jobs last month fanned concern that fuel demand will lag behind supplies.

Futures in New York fell as much as 0.5 percent before a government report that may show a drop of 65,000 jobs in July. Crude may also retreat next week, a Bloomberg survey of analysts showed, reversing a 3.7 percent gain in the past five days.

“Inventories worldwide are at very high levels, and the demand recovery seems to be relatively weak in industrialized countries,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodity research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt.

Oil for September delivery traded for $81.75 a barrel, 26 cents lower in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 12:56 p.m. London time. Brent crude for September settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange traded for $81.01, down 60 cents.

Futures in New York, up almost 4 percent this week, are 14 percent higher than a year ago.

Twenty-eight of 46 analysts, or 61 percent, forecast crude oil will decline through Aug. 13. It was the most bearish result since July 2009. Twelve respondents, or 26 percent, predicted that futures will increase and six saw little change. Last week 42 percent of analysts forecast a drop.

Equities Rally

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.4 percent to 262.6 as of 12:52 p.m. in London. The gauge has rallied 3.1 percent this week as better-than-estimated results from companies such as HSBC Holdings Plc and BNP Paribas SA boosted optimism that the economy will continue to grow.

“Oil prices are still in position to advance if we get strong moves higher in the euro or in equities as a result of a bullish employment report,” Peter Beutel, president of energy adviser Cameron Hanover Inc. in New Canaan, Connecticut, said in a note. “There could be short-covering ahead of the weekend, based on fears of a tropical storm or hurricane as well.”

An Energy Department report Aug. 4 showed crude supplies in the U.S. Midwest surged to a record. Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York futures contracts based on West Texas crude, climbed 1.8 percent to 37.8 million barrels, leaving inventories less than 1 percent below the all- time high set in May.

Total U.S. inventories fell by 2.8 million barrels in the week ended July 30 after a reduction in the U.S. Gulf Coast region offset the builds in the center of the country and in the West Coast.

OPEC Shipments

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce shipments this month as refineries close for maintenance, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

The 12-member group, which pumps 40 percent of the world’s crude, will ship 23.33 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Aug. 21, down 1.8 percent from 23.75 million barrels a day in the month ended July 24, the Halifax, England-based consultant said yesterday. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola.

The U.S. reduced its forecast for this year’s Atlantic hurricane period to 14 to 20 named storms, down from 14 to 23, because of less activity than expected in the first two months of the season. Tropical Storm Colin strengthened over the Atlantic and may pass to the west of Bermuda within two days, the National Hurricane Center said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net

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