Oil down a fourth session, but holds above $10
USINFO | 2013-11-14 13:46

Oil futures logged a fourth straight session of losses Tuesday on the back of a better supply outlook, but prices settled above $103 a barrel as uncertainties surrounding the Middle East region remained.

Crude oil for November delivery CLX3 +0.46%  fell 46 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $103.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after tapping a low of $102.30 in electronic trading.

Including Tuesday’s action, futures prices tallied a four session loss of 4.5% and also logged their seventh loss in eight sessions. The settlement price was the lowest for a most-active contract since late July, FactSet data show.

Oil briefly headed back toward the session’s lows after data showed U.S. consumers were less confident in September, which helped dull the outlook for energy demand. Theconsumer-confidence index fell to 79.7 from a revised 81.8 in August.

Prices then pared their losses after U.S. President Barack Obama told the United Nations that the U.S. was committed to finding diplomatic solutions to the civil war in Syria and the dispute with Iran over its nuclear program.

His comments eased risks to supplies from the region.

But “the sincerity of any offers of a diplomatic solution remain uncertain,” said Kevin Kerr, president and chief executive officer at Kerr Trading International. “Markets remain optimistically cautious, but the proof in the pudding will be any long-term results.”

Also somewhat supportive for oil prices were overall signs of global growth and the possibility that prices have reached oversold levels after a multi-day decline, said Jason Rotman, president of Lido Isle Advisors. Read: Dividend rise is positive economic indicator.

Nymex oil closed below $104 a barrel on Monday as concerns over Middle Eastern supplies continued to ease, in part due to rising output from Libya. Fading expectations for a U.S. military strike in Syria and more exports from South Sudan also improved the supply outlook, dampening prices.

On Tuesday, Brent crude for November delivery UK:LCOX3 +0.45%  closed up 48 cents, or 0.4%, to $108.64 a barrel on ICE Futures, bouncing back after Monday’s 1% decline.

But if Brent prices were to fall below last week’s low of $107.40 a barrel, they “could potentially drop down as far as $105.80 per barrel — the lows marked at the end of July and the beginning of August,” wrote analysts at Commerzbank.

The U.N. chemical-weapons panel was expected to vote later Tuesday on a U.S.-Russian agreement to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, with a Security Council vote also expected to follow. White House officials, meanwhile, said Obama will not meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting.

Later Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly U.S. inventory report, due to be followed by the more closely watched U.S. Energy Information Administration data on Wednesday.
An attendant pumps gas at an Exxon Mobil station in New Jersey.

U.S. commercial crude-oil stocks were expected to show a decline of 1.5 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 20, according to a Platts survey of energy analysts.

“Imports will likely remain on the low end as light sweet crude-oil supply out of the Mediterranean continues to be tight,” Platts wrote. “However, lower crude-oil runs at U.S. refineries will likely keep a larger decline in crude-oil stocks in check.”

Back on Nymex, October natural gasNGV13 +0.63%  lost 11 cents, or 3.1%, to end at $3.49 per million British thermal units. October gasoline RBV3 +0.15%  closed up almost 4 cents, or 1.4%, at $2.66 a gallon, while October heating oil ended at $2.96 a gallon, up half a cent, or 0.2%.


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