Oil prices dropped as much as 3 percent on Monday as China ramped up exports of refined products, U.S. oil producers added rigs for an eighth consecutive week, and prospects emerged for increased exports from Iraq and Nigeria.
Brent crude futures fell $1.71, or 3.36 percent, to $49.17 per barrel. The benchmark earlier fell to a session low of $49.15.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for September was down $1.47, or 3.03 percent, at $47.05 a barrel, near the low of the day. The October contract, which becomes the front-month at the close trading on Monday, was trading down $1.66 at $47.45.
Soaring exports of refined products from China also pressured prices, the latest indicator of an ongoing global fuel glut, traders said.
China's July exports of diesel and gasoline soared by 181.8 and 145.2 percent respectively compared with the same month last year, to 1.53 million tons and 970,000 tons each, putting pressure on refined product margins.