Brent fell for a second day amid speculation that turmoil across the Middle East won’t threaten crude supplies. West Texas Intermediate was steady in New York after a technical issue disrupted electronic trading.
Futures dropped as much as 0.6 percent in London. Libya’s production increased even as Islamist militias seized Tripoli’s international airport, while supply from Iraq remained uninterrupted by its struggle to form a new government. CME Group Inc., the world’s largest futures market, halted most of its Globex platform for about four hours, suspending contracts including oil and commodities.
“The region is in chaos but production continues to rise,” Robin Mills, the head of consulting at Manaar Energy Consulting and Project Management, said by phone from Dubai. “Brent’s been pretty weak. Global demand is still sluggish.”
Brent for October settlement declined as much as 64 cents to $101.65 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange and was little changed at $102.26 at 9:27 a.m. London time. The volume of all contracts traded was about 62 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are down 7.8 percent this year and the contract decreased 34 cents to $102.29 on Aug. 22.
WTI for October delivery was 8 cents lower at $93.57 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at a discount of $8.7 to Brent, compared with a close of $8.64 on Aug. 22.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where investors trade the most WTI crude and Henry Hub natural gas benchmark contracts, resumed before the start of the regular session in New York. About 500,000 crude contracts and 300,000 gas futures change hands on the bourse every day. North Sea Brent, the bellwether grade for more than half the world’s oil, is mainly transacted on ICE Futures Europe.
In Iraq, U.S. President Barack Obama’s bid to have Arabs take the lead in combating Islamic State suffered a setback as Sunni lawmakers quit talks on forming a new government, after Shiite gunmen killed scores of worshipers at a mosque.
Conflict in Iraq, the second-biggest OPEC producer, has largely spared the south, home to about three-quarters of its crude output. The nation pumped 3 million barrels a day last month, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
In Libya, production climbed to 656,000 barrels a day from 612,000 barrels on Aug. 21, Mohamed Elharari, a spokesman at state-run National Oil Corp., said yesterday. An alliance known as Fajr Libya, or Libya Dawn, said it wrested control of the Tripoli airport from another group amid weeks of fighting that threatened to worsen security in the nation, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“Geopolitics continue to add support. Libya has been one of the drivers for lower prices over the past few weeks as the export terminals reopened,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by phone.
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