Oil prices are on course for their sixth day of fall, dragged lower by a surge in U.S. crude inventories, timid demand and doubts over the ability of producers to coordinate output cuts.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 are at $46.21 per barrel, down 14 cents from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were down 9 cents at $44.57 a barrel. The dips put crude on the longest losing run since June and, before that, since January, with Brent shedding almost 14 percent since its recent peak in mid-October.
Analysts said markets were also weighed down by traders pulling out money from futures ahead of the U.S. presidential elections, which are seen as a risk to markets. Beyond concerns ahead of the elections, traders said oil fundamentals were also weak, with U.S. crude stocks surging, demand growth low, and doubts that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producer Russia can agree on a meaningful output cut this month.
While oil production remains near records and inventories are high, British bank Barclays said demand growth was timid. Demand growth over July-September was less than a third that of the year-ago quarter, Barclays said in a note, estimating last quarter’s growth below 1 million barrels per day (BPD).
The consumption rise for the last quarter will not be much higher, before averaging 1.3 million BPD in 2017, it added.