Brent swung between gains and losses amid speculation that supplies from Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, will be unaffected by the downing of a Malaysian Air flight. West Texas Intermediate rose.
Brent futures were 0.1 percent lower in London after falling 0.6 percent on July 18. President Vladimir Putin faces pressure to respond after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there’s “extraordinary circumstantial evidence” that Russia provided the missile that Ukrainian rebels used to bring down Flight 17. Money managers cut bullish bets on WTI by the most since March 2013, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Libya is preparing to export crude from two eastern ports that reopened this month after a yearlong protest.
“Oil prices have come down once again due to a limited response so far to the MH-17 airline disaster,” Abhishek Deshpande, oil markets analyst at Natixis SA in London, said in an e-mail. “The fundamentals are clearly pointing towards sufficient supply of oil with the return of Libyan oil.”
Brent for September settlement was at $107.09 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, down 15 cents, at 1:34 p.m. London time. The contract dropped 65 cents to $107.24 on July 18. The volume of all futures traded was about 11 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices are down about 3.4 percent this year.
WTI for August delivery, which expires tomorrow, rose 30 cents to $103.43 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The more-active September future was 4 cents higher at $101.99. The U.S. benchmark crude was at a discount of $5.07 to Brent.