Crude falls to 12-week low as U.S. inventories unexpectedly rise

Budget Talks

WTI also fell as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped for a fifth day. The Senate, by unanimous vote today, advanced a House stopgap spending measure as a federal government shutdown looms. Before sending the bill back to the House, Senate Democrats plan to strip language from the House version that would choke off funding for the 2010 health-care law.

Unless an agreement is reached to expedite Senate consideration of the measure, a vote on passage could occur as late as Sept. 29. That would give the House just one full workday to act before spending authority expires.

Brent, the European benchmark, declined less than WTI as Iran’s President Hassan Rohani rebuffed President Barack Obama’s attempt at direct engagement in the United Nations yesterday.

“The Iranian president was not as conciliatory as people had expected,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “The build is making WTI weaker than Brent.”

Iran Overtures

Obama told world leaders yesterday in New York that he welcomed overtures from Rohani and the prospect of resolving a decades-long confrontation. Iranian officials told their U.S. counterparts that the time wasn’t yet right for even a handshake between the two leaders.

Rohani offered softer rhetoric yesterday in his speech at the UN without conceding his country’s right to nuclear power.

Iran has the world’s fourth-largest proven oil reserves after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada, according to the BP statistical review. Sanctions aimed at stopping the Islamic republic’s nuclear program have hindered its oil exports.

Implied volatility for at-the-money WTI options expiring in November was 21.2%, little changed from yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Electronic trading volume on the Nymex was 480,624 contracts as of 3:37 p.m. It totaled 552,340 contracts yesterday, 12% below the three-month average. Open interest was 1.88 million contracts.

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