Oil dropped from the highest close in more than two months in New York amid signs of weakening demand in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer, and slowing growth in Germany.
Futures fell as much as 0.9 percent, dropping for the first time in four days. Crude consumption declined 4 percent to 15.9 million barrels a day last week, the biggest percentage decrease in a month, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed. Gasoline usage was the lowest since February, according to the API figures. German industrial production declined in June, led by a drop in construction output, data from the Economy Ministry in Berlin showed today.
“There are no signs of growth coming out of Europe’s largest economies,” said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London, who correctly predicted at the end of last month that oil would rebound. “Oil looks poised for a short-term downward retracement today.”
Oil for September delivery decreased as much as 85 cents to $92.82 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $93.18 at 12:30 p.m. London time. It climbed 1.6 percent yesterday to $93.67, the highest settlement since May 15. That close put crude at more than 20 percent above this year’s low of $77.69, a definition of a bull market.
Brent crude for September settlement fell 57 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $111.43 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark’s premium to West Texas Intermediate was $18.21, little changed from $18.33 yesterday.
Oil in New York faces technical resistance along the upper Bollinger Band on the daily chart, about $94.96 a barrel today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Futures yesterday halted their advance near this indicator. Sell orders tend to be clustered near chart-resistance levels.
German industrial production fell 0.9 percent from May, when it gained by a revised 1.7 percent, the Economy Ministry said today. Economists had forecast a drop of 0.8 percent, the median of 34 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Production declined by 0.3 percent from a year earlier when adjusted for working days.
U.S. gasoline demand last week was 3 percent less than a year ago, the 49th straight drop in that measure, according to MasterCard Inc.’s SpendingPulse report yesterday.
“We’ll probably need to see further good news, further improvements in demand and the economic growth outlook for oil to move significantly higher,” said Ric Spooner, a chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “We have seen a strong rally off the bottom of a few weeks ago.”
Crude inventories in the U.S. declined 5.4 million barrels last week, API data showed. An Energy Department report today may show supplies fell 1.6 million barrels, according to the median estimate of 10 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. Gasoline stockpiles rose 417,000 barrels last week, the API said. The Energy Department report may show they fell 1.75 million barrels, according to the Bloomberg survey.
The API collects stockpile information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines. The government requires that reports be filed with the Energy Department for its weekly survey.
Ernesto, the second hurricane of the Atlantic season, weakened to tropical storm strength as it moved over Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It’s forecast to cross into the Bay of Campeche, the location of Mexico’s biggest oil fields, later today and may regain hurricane status over warmer waters.
Ernesto was 55 miles (85 kilometers) west-northwest of Chetumal, Mexico, moving west at 15 miles per hour, the Miami-based center said in an advisory at 4 a.m. Central time. The rain-laden storm had top winds of 70 miles per hour, down from 85 mph at landfall, the NHC said.
The U.S. Energy Department raised its 2012 crude-price projection for the first time since April as global fuel consumption was forecast to increase. New York oil will average $93.90 a barrel this year, up 1.2 percent from the July forecast of $92.83, the department’s Energy Information Administration said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook yesterday. The U.S. benchmark grade will average $90.25 in 2013, up 2 percent from last month’s estimate of $88.50.
Enbridge Energy Partners LP started crude Line 14, which was shut previously following a leak in Wisconsin, a company statement distributed by Marketwire showed yesterday. The system carries Canadian crude to refineries in the U.S. Midwest.