Oil prices slip on Chinese demand concerns, rising U.S. activity

Posted August 16, 2017

"We're on the precipice of a large sell-off", he said.

"Oil futures have become lodged in a tight price range this month as traders await the autumn maintenance period that typically brings with it a seasonal drop in refinery demand and resulting build in crude stocks", he said in an emailed report.

Oil prices edged up on Wednesday, lifted by declining US crude inventories, although markets were still restrained by excess supply.

Futures fell 0.8% in NY after Monday's 2.5% decline, the biggest drop in more than five weeks.

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The latest American Petroleum Institute (API) inventory data for the week ending August 11th recorded a draw of 9.16 million barrels after the substantial draw of 7.84 million barrels last week.

West Texas Intermediate for September delivery declined 38 cents to $47.21/bbl at 10:06 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. "This results in a tug of war that we have witnessed all year and the final outcome is a range-bound market", said Matt Stanley, a commodities broker at Freight Investor Services in Dubai reports CNBC.

Most analysts are expecting figures of 3.179 million drop in crude stocks in the upcoming announcements while a total of 1.527 million barrels decline in gasoline inventories and shrink the total supplies by 620,000 barrels.

More broadly, analysts said ample supply was preventing prices from moving much higher. Worse still, this momentum is not expected to change into the first quarter of 2018 when the current OPEC deal where oil output will be cut by 1.8m bpd will have run out.

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International Energy Agency (IEA) in its monthly oil market report indicated that it is not just Libya and Nigeria but the participating countries have produced nearly 470,000 barrels of crude per day, beyond the agreed level.

- Industry group The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday that inventories of crude oil in the US dropped by 9.2 million barrels in the latest week.

"OPEC and Russian Federation still face an uphill battle in reducing the global supply surplus in the face of growth in output elsewhere and less than compliant behavior in their midst (Iraq, UAE)", said French bank BNP Paribas.

Oil prices were already on the decline Monday, then worsened after the U.S. On the demand side, analysts also see a gradual slowdown in consumption growth as petrol demand peaks in the USA due to improving fuel efficiency and the rise of electric vehicles, while China's voracious oil thirst also starts to taper off.

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