Brent crude oil continued to fall for the ninth consecutive session on Thursday as investors turned their attention from supply concerns to demand. The commodity traded at $108.17 at 6:00 GMT following the release of worse than expected US inventory data.
Despite data showing that the US economy has been on the mend recently, inventory data showed weak demand for gasoline in the world’s largest oil consuming nation.
CNBC reported that the Energy Information Administration’s inventory report showed that gasoline demand averaged 9.04 barrels per day over the past four weeks and motor fuel stocks were up 570,000 barrels, a far cry from analysts’ predictions for a 217,000 barrel drop. However there was a bright spot--the nation’s crude inventories fell 2.4 million barrels last week, surpassing expectations for a 2.2 million barrel drop.
Related Link: Brent Continues To Tumble
Losses were stemmed by data from China which showed that the nation’s crude imports were on the rise, a good sign that the Chinese economy was headed in the right direction. Customs data out on Thursday showed that Chinese crude imports were up by 10.2 percent for the first half of the year.
Meanwhile, the geopolitical tension that has been driving prices recently faded as Libyan exports resumed and Iraqi oil remained unaffected.
In Libya, the government reached a deal with protesters and has reopened one of its largest oilfields, a move that is expected to nearly double the nation’s export capacity. In Iraq, fighting in the north between the military and Sunni insurgents continued, but the chances of the rebel groups moving to Baghdad or further south to the nation’s oilfields looked less likely.
The Iraqi parliament is set to meet on July 13 in an effort to create a more inclusive government in order to cut support for radical groups.
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