Oil Drops in New York as Growth Concern Weighs on Demand Outlook

Oil fell a second day in New York, trimming a weekly gain, after interest-rate cuts in Europe and China failed to assure investors the moves will be enough to boost economic growth and support demand.

Futures slid as much as 1.6 percent, extending yesterday’s 0.5 percent drop, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said some “downside risks to the euro-area economic outlook have materialized” as the ECB cut rates to a record low. The People’s Bank of China also reduced borrowing costs. Data today may show the pace of hiring in the U.S. accelerated in June while unemployment was unchanged. London’s Brent crude slipped amid speculation Norway’s government will stop a strike by energy workers.

“From here on, the market will be settling down and looking for evidence of improvement in demand,” said Ric Spooner, a chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “We will probably have to wait through to August or September to really start assessing whether we’re getting any sort of a bounce in world economies. Non-farm payrolls tonight loom as potentially a significant short-term factor.”

Oil for August delivery decreased as much as $1.35 to $85.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $86.24 at 8:25 a.m. London time. Prices are 1.5 percent higher this week and are heading for a second weekly gain, the longest winning streak since April. Crude is down 13 percent this year.

West Texas Intermediate settled at $87.22 yesterday after slipping 44 cents. Floor trading was closed July 4 for the U.S. Independence Day holiday and transactions since the July 3 close were booked with yesterday’s trades for settlement purposes.

Norway Strike

Brent oil for August settlement fell 94 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $99.76 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark’s premium to West Texas Intermediate was at $13.52, compared with $13.48 yesterday.

A lockout planned for July 9 by the Norwegian Oil Industry Association, which includes Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc, will probably force the government to intervene to end the walkout as it did in 1997, 2000 and 2004, according to analysts including Teodor Sveen Nilsen from Swedbank AB in Oslo. Norway produces about 12 percent of Europe’s oil, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Energy workers have been on strike since June 24 in a dispute over pensions. The action has led to the loss of 2.58 million barrels of crude, costing the government and companies 2.25 billion Norwegian kroner ($375 million), Jan Hodneland, chief negotiator of the industry association, said by phone yesterday from Stavanger.

Oil Stockpiles

U.S. payrolls increased by 100,000 workers last month after a 69,000 gain in May, according to the median forecast of 84 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of Labor Department figures today. The unemployment rate probably remained at 8.2 percent.

U.S. oil stockpiles slipped 4.3 million barrels last week, a report from the Energy Department showed yesterday. They were forecast to decline 2.3 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Gasoline inventories rose 151,000 barrels, the report showed. They were projected to gain 1 million barrels. Distillate supplies, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, fell 1.1 million barrels compared with an estimated 1 million barrel increase.

Oil in New York may increase next week on signs of an economic recovery in the U.S. and as inventories fell the most in six months, a Bloomberg survey showed. Thirteen of 27 analysts, or 48 percent, forecast crude will rise through July 13. Eleven respondents, or 41 percent, predicted that futures will decline and three said there will be little change in prices. Last week, 38 percent of analysts projected a gain.

CME Group Inc. boosted margins on crude and natural-gas futures contracts on Nymex as of the close of business July 9, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. The initial margin for speculators in oil futures for the month nearest to expiration will increase to $6,885 per contract from $6,210, the notice shows.

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