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Global GDP gains and OPEC chatter lift oil prices higher
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Oct 5, 2017

Signs of post-hurricane recovery and gains in global GDP helped add support to a market under U.S. supply-side threats and pushed oil prices higher Thursday.

Crude oil prices lost ground in the previous session, with West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, losing grip on $50 per barrel briefly after a federal report on record U.S. oil imports last week.

The four-week average for total U.S. oil production was, at 9.5 million barrels per day, higher than last year by 11 percent. Federal data, meanwhile, show the four-week average of total oil exports at 1.3 million barrels per day, more than twice the level from last year.

"The crude exodus is primarily occurring from port terminals along the Gulf Coast and is expected to continue as new shale production is shipped direct to marine docks by pipeline," Sandy Fielden, the director of research, commodities and energy at Morningstar, said in an emailed report.

That follows weeks of pressure brought on by a series of hurricanes that hammered southern U.S. states and territories. In a sign of recovery, the U.S. Labor Department reported first-time claims of unemployment for the week ending Sept. 30 were down 12,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average, a less-volatile metric, showed a decline of 9,500.

"Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria impacted this week's claims," the Labor Department's weekly report read.

More jobs could lead to more demand, a metric watched closely by traders.

The price for Brent crude oil was up 0.88 percent from the previous close to $56.29 per barrel at 9:09 a.m. EDT. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.46 percent to $50.21 per barrel.

Further support from the demand side came from a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that gross domestic production in the world's developed economies grew 0.7 percent in the second quarter, up from the 0.5 percent gain in the previous quarter.

In the United States, the world's No. 1 economy, GDP growth picked up 0.8 percent in the second quarter, compared with 0.3 percent in the first. Labor metrics from the government, however, showed hurricane strains were still apparent. The largest increase in first-time claims for unemployment for the week ending Sept. 23 came from Florida, which was hit by Hurricane Irma in September.

Market support also came Thursday from comments made during an energy conference underway in Russia. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said Wednesday it was possible that a multilateral effort to balance an oversupplied market with production declines could last through the end of 2018.

Speaking Thursday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said "we will not be satisfied with what we have" in terms of recovery supported so far by the agreement.

Shell defends divestment efforts, but cancels sale in Thailand
Washington (UPI) Oct 4, 2017
While defending a robust spending program, Royal Dutch Shell said Wednesday it was canceling an agreement to sell off a stake of its assets in Thailand. Subsidiaries of Shell and the Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co. said they mutually agreed to cancel the multilmillion dollar sale of shares in Shell Integrated Gas Thailand Pte. Ltd., known also as SIGT, and Thai Energy Co Limite ... read more

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