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MTECHTIPS:- U.S. oil futures fall to lowest since March, Brent below $50

MTECHTIPS:- U.S. oil futures fall to lowest since March, Brent below $50

U.S. oil futures fell to the lowest level in more than four months on Thursday, as an unexpected gasoline stock build last week dented the demand outlook. Crude oil for delivery in September on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped to an intraday low of $44.84 a barrel, a level not seen since March 20, before trading at $44.91 during European morning hours, down 24 cents, or 0.54%. A day earlier, Nymex oil fell 59 cents, or 1.29%, to close at $45.15. New York-traded oil tumbled to a more than four-month low of $45.08 on Monday. Oil’s losses on Wednesday came after a rise in supplies of oil products overshadowed a larger-than-expected fall in U.S. crude inventories last week. Crude oil inventories declined by 4.4 million barrels last week to 455.3 million, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Market analysts’ expected a crude-stock fall of 1.5 million. Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the key delivery point for Nymex crude, decreased by 542,000 barrels last week, compared to forecasts for a decline of 200,000 and following a drop of 212,000 barrels a week earlier. The report also showed that gasoline inventories increased by 0.8 million barrels, whiledistillate stockpiles rose by 0.7 million barrels. Energy traders have been paying close attention to gasoline stockpiles in recent weeks as the U.S. driving season entered its peak gasoline demand period. WTI oil futures dropped $12.22, or 21.24%, in July, the biggest monthly loss since October 2008, as worries over high domestic U.S. oil production weighed. Industry research group Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) said Friday that the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. increased by five last week to 664, the second straight weekly gain.
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