November 9, 2015 / 4:36 AM / 4 years ago

Oil down 4th day on stockpile worries, weak Wall Street

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell as much as 1 percent on Monday, extending losses for a fourth straight day, pressured by fresh inventory builds at the delivery point for U.S. crude futures and lower Wall Street share prices.

A pump jack operates at a well site leased by Devon Energy Production Company near Guthrie, Oklahoma September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

Crude futures have lost at least 7 percent since Wednesday’s settlement.

The oil complex as a whole has been weakened by concerns that stockpiles of refined U.S. oil products such as heating oil were also growing, with refineries ramping up output as they emerge from maintenance season amid milder-than-usual weather.

Near record pumping of crude by Russia, Saudi Arabia and other big global producers are other factors that have weighed on oil.

On Monday, the front-month in Brent crude futures settled down 23 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $47.19 a barrel.

The front-month in U.S. crude’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) finished the session down 42 cents, or 1 percent, at $43.87.

In spread trades of WTI, the front-month’s discount to the second month deepened for a third day, reaching its widest in 6-1/2 months.

Known as “contango”, the discount has been growing as traders store oil that is immediately available in the hope of selling later at better prices when fundamentals improve.

“The spread weakness is being driven mainly by a large and increasing level of supply,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates. “More specifically, an expected supply upswing at Cushing may be spurring some of the spread action.”

Market intelligence firm Genscape reported a 1.8 million-barrel build at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. crude futures between Oct 30 and Nov. 5, said traders who saw the data.

Separately, a Reuters poll showed analysts expecting crude stockpiles across the United States to have risen for a seventh straight week, with a build of 800,0000 barrels last week. [EIA/S]

The American Petroleum Institute will release its inventory data on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT), while the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration will publish its data on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. EST (1600 GMT), delayed a day by Wednesday’s Veterans Day holiday.

Wall Street’s main stock index, the S&P 500, fell 1 percent, adding to the bearish sentiment. [.N]

Oil prices were up earlier on Monday after OPEC forecast stronger supply-demand fundamentals next year. Abdullah al-Badri, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said the market was expected to become more balanced in 2016 as demand grew.

U.S. gasoline futures ending in positive territory for a second straight day, remaining a bright spot on the complex, although it pared most of its early gains.

The gasoline “crack”, or profit for turning crude into the motor fuel, hit two-month highs above $14 a barrel as analysts cited demand from low pump prices.

Additional reporting by Ron Bousso and Sarah McFarlane in London and Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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