Crude Oil Benchmark Brent Sees Biggest One-Day Fall In Two Years

Crude Oil

-China trade tensions threatened to hurt oil demand, and news that Libya would reopen its ports raised expectations of growing supply.

United States crude fell 5% to $70.38 a barrel - its worst one-day decline in a year.

"The scope of today's sell-off is unequivocally a speculative washout", said Saucer.

China was the world's biggest oil importer a year ago, followed by the US.

OPEC and other key producers including Russian Federation responded to the tightness by easing a supply-cut agreement, with Saudi Arabia vowing to support the market as US President Donald Trump accused the group of pushing prices higher. A stronger dollar can weaken dollar-denominated commodities, like crude. "In turn, this could have a marked impact on oil demand growth".

Oil's price fall was aided by news that Tripoli-based National Oil Corp (NOC) had lifted a force majeure on four Libyan oil ports, saying production and exports from the terminals would "return to normal levels in the next few hours".

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The decline in USA inventories was partially due to a fall in stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub for US crude futures, which dropped 2.1 million barrels.

"Libyan relief changes the conversation about spare capacity", said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management.

Rising global oil supply, driven by crude giants Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, may come under pressure as key producers face disruptions, the International Energy Agency said Thursday. This action would substantially weaken demand for U.S. WTI crude oil. "This will become an even bigger issue as rising production from Middle East Gulf countries and Russian Federation, welcome though it is, comes at the expense of the world's spare capacity cushion, which might be stretched to the limit", the Paris-based organization said Thursday.

Washington had previously said countries must halt all imports of Iranian oil from November 4 or face USA financial restrictions, with no exemptions.

The falls came despite a United States government report that American crude oil stockpiles fell by more than 12 million barrels last week and are about 4% lower than average for this time of year. Supply to the USA market has also been squeezed by the loss of some Canadian oil production.

During the session, CME Group said a technical issue impacted connectivity for some customers. "We see no sign of higher production from elsewhere that might ease fears of market tightness", it said.

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