Oil ends down more than 2 percent as U.S. drilling points to glut
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. oil prices traded below $40 a barrel for the first time since the 2009 financial crisis, ending 2 percent lower on Friday on signs of U.S. oversupply and weak Chinese manufacturing and notching the longest weekly losing streak in almost three decades.
U.S. crude dipped below the $40 threshold following weekly data that showed U.S. energy firms added two oil drilling rigs last week, the fifth increase in a row. The rise in the number of rigs emerging after a second quarter lull in prices is adding to concerns U.S. shale production is proving slow to respond to falling prices, prolonging a global glut. [RIG/U]
"Everyone is still looking at it saying 'Wow, you still don't have production coming down,'" said Tariq Zahir, founder at Tyche Capital in Laurel Hollow, New York.
U.S. October crude CLc1 settled 87 cents, or 2.1 percent, lower at $40.45 a barrel, having touched a new 6-1/2-year low of $39.86 a barrel. Front-month U.S. crude has fallen 33 percent over eight consecutive weeks of losses, the longest such losing streak since 1986.
It pared some losses late in the trading session, as U.S. RBOB gasoline futures RBc1 rebounded from a contract low, on news of a fire in a gasoline-making unit at PBF Energy Inc's 182,000 barrels per day Delaware City, Delaware, refinery.
Brent oil LCOc1 ended $1.16, or 2.5 percent, lower at $45.46 a barrel. It hit a low of $45.07 and threatened to break below $45 a barrel for the first time since March 2009.
Energy markets slid early in the day as world stock and currency markets joined an extended rout across raw materials this week, a slump accelerated on Friday by data showing activity in China's factory sector, a huge user of many commodities, shrank at its fastest pace in almost 6-1/2 years in August.
With deepening gloom over demand growth from the world's second-biggest oil user, and expectations for a significant build-up in surplus oil stocks this autumn, dealers said most oil traders were unwilling to fight the tide.
"The market is stuck in a relentless downtrend," said Robin Bieber, a director at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates. Continued...