Oil Settles Lower Thursday

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures settled lower Thursday afternoon, lifted by a rallying dollar and profit-taking spurred by the expiration of the November West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures contract at the close of the regular session.

“It’s a combination of the expiration of WTI, with a lot of exchange-traded funds rolling over and some booking profits,” said analyst Phil Flynn at Price Futures. “I also heard Nigeria and Libya are bringing more supply to the market.”

The dollar rallied to a seven-month high versus a basket of six major currencies while the euro fell to a four-month low against the dollar after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi left the door open to more monetary stimulus, with a stronger greenback bearish for oil futures.

NYMEX November WTI crude futures expired $1.17 lower at $50.43 bbl, off a two-day low of $50.25, with the December contract down $1.19 at $50.63 bbl. On Wednesday, the November WTI contract rallied to a 15-month spot high of $51.93. The December Brent futures contract on the IntercontinentalExchange tumbled $1.29 to $51.32 bbl at settlement, off a two-day low of $51.17. In products trade, NYMEX November ULSD futures were 2.83cts lower at $1.5596 gallon settlement, off a two-day low of $1.5476. The November RBOB futures contract was down 1.99cts at $1.4937 gallon at settlement, off a $1.4755 three-day low. The oil futures complex rallied Wednesday on data showing a steep drop in domestic crude oil stocks and hope the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would finalize an agreement to reduce their crude oil production next month.

The Energy Information Administration said crude stocks unexpectedly plunged 5.3 million bbl for the week-ended Oct. 14, with supplies at the Cushing supply hub in Oklahoma, drawn down 1.6 million bbl to 59.7 million bbl. Internationally, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said non-OPEC producers such as Russia were willing to cut their output in coordination with OPEC. OPEC hopes to finalize their Sept. 28 agreement to limit output to a 32.5 to 33.0 million bpd range when they meet in late November, but analysts remain skeptical they will stick to their deal. The World Bank today raised its forecast for WTI in 2017 to $55 bbl from $53 bbl, adjusting its outlook on the planned OPEC production cut designed to rid the global market of excess supply.

George Orwel can be reached at george.orwel@dtn.com