WH UPDATE 5-U.S. crude slips below $100 for first time since July

Simon Falush
Monday, 21 Oct 2013 | 8:45 AM ET

* U.S. oil demand higher in September - API

* Brent premium to U.S. crude heading for highest close since June 4

* Coming up: EIA oil data for the week ended Oct. 11

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - U.S. crude fell more than $1 to below $100 per barrel on Monday on pressure from healthy supply there.

Losses were limited by hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve will delay curbing its money printing programme until next year, helping shore up the demand outlook.

Investors awaited the release of delayed U.S. government oil inventory data later, expecting the figures to point to increasing supply after private-sector API numbers last week showed a rise in stocks.

"We will see later today in the Department of Energy data a confirmation of the Cushing stock build," said Olivier Jakob, analyst at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland, referring to stockpiles at the Oklahoma oil hub.

Investors will also scrutinise delayed U.S. payrolls data on Tuesday for further clues on demand in the world's largest oil consumer.

Brent crude futures for December delivery slipped by 53 cents to $109.41 a barrel by 1228 GMT. Last week, the contract lost 1.2 percent, its first weekly decline in three.

U.S. crude oil futures for November delivery fell by $1.20 to $99.61 a barrel, after rising as high as $100.95. The contract fell below $100 per barrel for the first time since July 3.

The premium of Brent crude to U.S. crude at around $9.50, was heading to its highest close since June 4, as North American crude is pressured by increasing shale oil production in the United States.

"The big story remains the increased supplies out of the U.S. that have been large enough to help compensate for lost output from Libya and Nigeria," Jakob said.

Libyan output fell sharply as rival groups have fought for control of assets, while Nigerian oil output has been repeatedly hit by oil theft.

Indicating that investors are reluctant to make positive bets on crude oil, speculative investors like hedge funds cut net long positions in crude oil for the sixth week in seven, data from the InterContinental Exchange showed on Monday.

Investors face a deluge of data this week as U.S. government departments catch up after a 16-day shutdown.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will unveil oil data for the week ended Oct. 11 at 1430 GMT. Its normal release schedule resumes after that, and oil figures for last week are due on Wednesday.


Oil prices were also supported after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that oil demand in the United States rose 2.7 percent in September compared with year-earlier levels due to the stronger economy and export demand.

This follows positive economic data from China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, where gross domestic product grew by 7.8 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier.

Saudi Arabia increased its oil exports by 325,000 barrels a day (bpd) in August from July to 7.795 million bpd, official data showed on Sunday.

The world's largest oil exporter produced 10.19 million bpd of crude, up 156,000 bpd from July.