Oil falls, fanned by inventory rise and global demand worries
By Stephanie Kelly NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices edged lower on Thursday after a larger-than-expected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles and a series of weak economic figures, although a drop in fuel inventories helped offset the decline
By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices edged lower on Thursday after a larger-than-expected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles and a series of weak economic figures, although a drop in fuel inventories helped offset the decline.
Global benchmark Brent crude
U.S. crude inventories soared by 9.3 million barrels in the week to Oct. 11, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, far surpassing estimates for a build of 2.8 million barrels last week.
The rise was the result of a reduction in refining output for the week to its lowest capacity use nationwide since Hurricane Harvey in September 2017. Refining capacity use fell to 83.1% as refiners shut in capacity across the country.
The greater-than-anticipated fall in gasoline and diesel inventories offset the rise in crude stocks. Overall imports have fallen, in part due to sanctions imposed on Chinese shipping firm COSCO that have raised freight costs.
"Inventories have built by a whopping 9.3 million barrels, led by the refinery utilization rate dropping to its lowest since Hurricane Harvey in September 2017," said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData in Louisville, Kentucky.
"One saving grace for the bulls is that the drop to such a lowly level of refining activity has helped to encourage solid draws to both gasoline and distillate inventories," he said.
The United States imposed sanctions on COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co and subsidiary COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management Co for allegedly carrying Iranian oil.
Adding to concerns about the global economy, and therefore energy demand, U.S. retail sales fell for the first time in seven months, while housing starts and industrial output dropped as well. Earlier data showed a moderation in job growth and services sector activity.
"If we see more indications of slowing demand, I think the market is going to continue to sink lower," said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
Brexit developments helped limit oil's decline. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain and the European Union had agreed a new deal for Britain to leave the block. Johnson urged lawmakers to approve it at the weekend.
Analysts have said any agreement that avoids a no-deal Brexit should boost economic growth and oil demand.
(Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Laila Kearney, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Edmund Blair and Chris Reese)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.