by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Sep 29, 2017
Data showing weak consumer spending in the United States and signs of oil in the Kurdish north of Iraq helped push crude oil prices slightly lower early Friday.
Crude oil prices have been on the rise for most of September. Early support came from hurricanes that hit the southern United States and upended seasonal factors that would normally send oil prices lower. Parts of the U.S. refining sector idled by Hurricane Harvey started to show clear signs of recovery only this week.
Late September support, meanwhile, followed a vote for independence in the Kurdish north of Iraq, which ships about 300,000 barrels of oil per day north to a port in Turkey. While a small percentage of total Iraqi potential, the risk of regional instability put wind in the sails of the rally for oil prices.
On Friday, joint venture partners from Canada and Abu Dhabi said they reached a sales agreement with the Kurdish government that would support exports. Despite the saber-rattling, there are few indications that oil work has been disrupted in the Kurdish north.
The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was down 0.3 percent at 9:11 a.m. EDT to $56.97 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, was down 0.1 percent to $51.51 per barrel.
Market analysts this week said the September rally was running out of steam and new yearly highs were the likely peak for the short term. That likely explained the drop in crude oil prices after the early Thursday session lift from strong figures for growth in U.S. gross domestic product.
The Commerce Department reported Friday that consumer spending increased 0.1 percent in August, after showing a 0.3 percent gain during the previous month. Personal income also moved lower.
That followed a report from the American Petroleum Institute that showed demand for consumer fuels dipped in August.
The price of oil will be influenced later in the day when drilling services company Baker Hughes publishes weekly data on rig counts, which serve as a barometer for confidence in the energy sector. A decline in the United States would indicate energy companies are spending less, while an increase would be indicative of future production gains.
Washington (UPI) Sep 27, 2017
Respondents to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said Hurricane Harvey should have only a modest, but lingering, impact on the energy sector. Hurricane Harvey hit the southern coast of Texas and the largest density of refineries on the southern Gulf Coast in late August. By now, all of the refineries are back in service, though eight are still operating at reduced capacit ... read more
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