Libyan Output Pressures Oil Price, Metals End Week Mixed

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

Oil fell on Friday as exports rose from Libya, creating more uncertainty about supply and demand as doubt continued that the US will settle on another stimulus package before the November 3 election.

As a result, West Texas Intermediate futures prices settled below $US40 a barrel for the first time in nearly three weeks.

Reuters reported that Libya’s National Oil Corporation said it lifted force majeure on its shipping commitments from the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf ports—meaning that those ports can meet contractual obligations on planned oil exports.

Libya’s “exports could surpass one million [barrels per day] in four weeks,” Marshall Steeves, energy markets analyst at IHS Markit, told MarketWatch.com.

Libya resumed oil exports last month after the lifting of an eight-month port blockade and its output reached 560,000 barrels a day on Wednesday, up from 150,000 in September, according to Marketwatch.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for December delivery fell 79 cents, or 1.9%, to settle at $US39.85 a barrel in New York.

In Europe, December Brent crude dropped 69 cents, or 1.6%, closing at $US41.77 a barrel.

That saw WTI crude suffer a 3.1% weekly fall, while Brent dropped by 2.7%.

There was again little reaction to the latest US oil-rig count from Baker Hughes which rose for the fifth week in a row. The report showed the number of active US oil drilling rigs up by 6 to 211 this week. That was after a rise of 12 last week.

In metals a mixed ending to a mixed week.

Comex gold for December delivery rose 60 cents, or 0.03%, to settle at $US1,905.20 an ounce, following the 1.3% slide on Thursday.

That saw gold suffer a second-weekly loss, though the most-active contract was down by less than 0.1% from last Friday’s settlement.

Comex Silver for December delivery shed 3 cents, or 0.1%, to $US24.675 an ounce, after losing 2.1% on Thursday. Silver still gained 1.1% for the week.

December copper fell 0.7% to $US3.129 a pound. It was up by 2% for the week after settling Wednesday at $US3.199, the highest price since June 2018.

Iron ore suffered a 3.5% fall for the day and week with a drop of $US4.31 on Friday for 62% Fe fines delivered to northern China.

The price ended at $US115.60 from $US119.91 the week before.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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