Oil extends losses as markets fall, inventories climb

Oil price extend losses as other markets fall, stockpiles climb

United States crude futures were trading down more than 2% at US$73.20 per barrel Wednesday morning, reflecting the declining importance of Gulf of Mexico output that has resulted from the growth of production from the nation's onshore shale fields.

Volumes for Brent are four times the average for the Asian timezone, while WTI contracts were about 75 percent above typical turnover, McCarthy said. WTI is on track for a 4.2 percent decline this week, also the first weekly drop in five.

But the effect on imports will be higher as the country imports more than it exports.

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday after the International Monetary Fund lowered its global growth forecasts, but markets were supported as Hurricane Michael moved toward Florida causing the shutdown of almost 40 per cent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude production.

Technology shares tumbled on fears of slowing demand and concerns about US-China tensions.

Almost 40 percent of daily crude oil production and more than one-third of natural gas output was lost from offshore U.S. Gulf of Mexico wells on Wednesday because of platform evacuations and shut-ins ahead of Hurricane Michael.

Barkindo, speaking at the Oil and Money conference in London, also said he wanted to ensure there is no shortage of crude in the market.

"Oil prices have stabilized for the moment - between a real and a metaphorical storm", said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index.

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The world's biggest trading houses said on Wednesday they saw oil prices not falling below $65 per barrel and possibly breaking above $100 next year as US sanctions on Iran reduce crude exports from the Islamic republic.

US crude stocks rose last week as refineries cut output, while gasoline stocks increased and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.

While Washington has said it wants to cut Iran's oil exports to zero, Iran and Saudi Arabia say that is unlikely.

In the US Gulf of Mexico, producers had cut output by 40 per cent on Thursday due to Hurricane Michael, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, even as some operators began returning crews to offshore platforms.

Michael crashed ashore Florida on Wednesday as the third most powerful hurricane ever to strike the U.S. mainland.

Amid refiners and the impending crisis of crude supplies, Indian refiners have planned to import 9 million barrels from Iran for the month of November.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, will release its data at 4:30 p.m. (2030 GMT), followed by the EIA's report on Thursday at 11 a.m. - both reports delayed a day by Monday's federal holiday.

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