West Texas Intermediate traded below $100 a barrel for a second day after crude stockpiles rose to a 15-week high in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. The grade’s discount to Brent jumped to its biggest since April.
Futures were little changed, recovering from a three-month low amid speculation the Federal Reserve will maintain stimulus after data showed the U.S. added fewer jobs than forecast in September. Crude inventories increased by 4 million barrels to 374.5 million in the week ended Oct. 11, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Supplies were projected to climb by 3 million, according to a Bloomberg News survey.
“Relatively low refining runs and slow pre-winter demand continue to weigh on WTI,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London. “There is little scope for a WTI price rebound at the moment given slackening fundamentals.”
WTI for November delivery, which expires today, decreased as much as 55 cents to $98.67 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The more-active December contract was at $99.76, up 8 cents, as of 2:04 p.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was 52 percent higher than the 100-day average.
Brent for December settlement rose 90 cents to $110.54 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange, after losing 30 cents yesterday. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of as much as $11.14 to WTI for the same month, the widest spread on an intraday basis since April 24.
Payrolls climbed less than projected in September, indicating the U.S. economy had little momentum leading up to the federal government shutdown. The addition of 148,000 workers followed a revised 193,000 gain in August that was larger than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington.
WTI may extend its slide below $100 a barrel through the end of the year as U.S. supplies surge, tensions over Iran ease and political wrangling in Washington continues, a Bloomberg survey on prices showed. Futures will lose another $2 by Dec. 31, according to the mean of 16 analysts and traders polled.
Crude’s decline may stall as technical indicators show futures are supported. The 14-day relative strength index is at about 35 today, the lowest level since April, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A reading below 30 typically means the market has fallen too quickly for further losses to be sustainable. The front-month contract is also trading near its 200-day moving average, at $98.60 a barrel today, where prices rebounded from May through June.
The EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, postponed the release of its Weekly Petroleum Status Report last week after the partial U.S. government shutdown on Oct. 1 led to the temporary closing of the agency.
Gasoline inventories slid by 2.6 million barrels, the data show. They were projected to shrink by 1 million, according to the median estimate of nine analysts in the survey on stockpiles. Distillate supplies, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, dropped by 1.8 million barrels, compared with a forecast fall of 2 million.