West Texas Intermediate crude fell for a seventh day, the longest stretch of losses since December 2009. Brent touched a three-week low as Libya prepared to increase exports from two ports closed for a year.
Libya has 7.5 million barrels of oil ready to export from the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf terminals after ending force majeure, the country’s Oil Ministry said today. The Islamist insurgency in Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, hasn’t spread to the south, the source of most of the country’s output. Futures also dropped after U.S. equities fell from a record.
“The Libya situation has added to the downward pressure on the market,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “We’ve given back all of the Iraq security-fear gains that were added in June.”
WTI for August delivery fell 75 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $103.31 a barrel at 12:49 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched $103.19, the lowest level since June 9. The seven-day drop is the longest slide since a nine-day decline ended Dec. 14, 2009. The volume of all futures traded was 28 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day.
There was no floor trading in New York during the Fourth of July holiday, and electronic transactions will be booked today for settlement purposes.
Brent for August settlement fell 36 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $110.28 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract touched $110.09, the lowest intraday price since June 12. The European benchmark traded at a $6.97 premium to WTI, compared with $6.94 on July 3.