US crude futures slide $1.48/bbl on pre-weekend selling

03 January 2014 20:35  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--NYMEX light sweet crude (WTI) for February delivery finished down on Friday for the fourth consecutive session, settling at $93.96/bbl, down $1.48, as market participants liquidated positions ahead of the weekend.

The sell-off overshadowed the weekly supply statistics from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing a much-greater-than-forecast drawdown in crude stocks, especially in the US Gulf Coast region. The EIA data showed a substantial build in distillate inventories, however.

Reports suggested that US refiners have been de-stocking for tax accounting purposes ahead of the new year, while other participants engaged in asset re-allocation, moving cash from oil into other commodities.

Downside momentum penetrated technical barriers for the second consecutive day, triggering sell stops.

Front month WTI bottomed out at $93.86/bbl, down $1.58, before attempting to rebound.

ICE Brent for February delivery remained under pressure on expectations that Libya’s oil exports could resume as a result of a pause in anti-government protests. The contract established an intra-day low of $106.79/bbl before settling at $106.89/bbl, down 89 cents.

By: Ignacio Sotolongo
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