Brent drops to four-year low on supply glut

Brent crude (NYMEX:SCZ14) dropped to a four-year low on the global supply surplus. West Texas Intermediate rebounded from a three-year low.

Brent fell as much as 1.4 percent. Crude has slumped into a bear market as the largest producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted calls to cut output. Global supplies are climbing, with the U.S. pumping at the fastest pace in more than 30 years. Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi is scheduled to attend a climate event in Venezuela starting on Nov. 6, according to embassy officials in Caracas.

“The bearish factors that have sent the market tumbling are still in place,” Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, said by phone. “The fears of oversupply are still in place while worries about the European economy going back into recession and China slowing weigh on the demand outlook. The U.S. economy is doing better, which pushes the dollar higher and hurts commodities.”

Brent for December settlement decreased 39 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $82.43 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 9:38 a.m. in New York. The contract reached $81.63 earlier, the lowest since Oct. 21, 2010. Prices are down 26 percent this year.

WTI for December delivery climbed 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $77.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $75.84 yesterday, the lowest since October 2011. Prices have decreased 21 percent this year.

EIA Report

Al-Naimi’s trip is reminiscent of the 1990s, when Saudi Arabia’s competition with Venezuela and Mexico to supply the U.S. Gulf Coast drove down prices, said Mike Wittner, the head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA in New York.

An Energy Information Administration report today is projected to show that U.S. crude inventories expanded by 2.35 million barrels, a fifth weekly increase, according to the median of responses in a Bloomberg survey.

A report today showed that U.S. companies added more workers in October. Republicans won control of the Senate, positioning Mitch McConnell, the party’s leader in the chamber, to set the agenda for the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

“The jobs numbers are giving us support this morning,” Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said by phone.

About the Author