Brent oil hits lowest since late August; dollar dips

Man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo
A man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo May 11, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

November 11, 2015

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brent crude oil prices hit their lowest since late August on Wednesday on worries about growing U.S. stockpiles, while the U.S. dollar took a breather from recent gains.

U.S. stocks ended a choppy session lower, with the drop in oil weighing on energy shares. European shares ended up 0.7 percent.

Copper prices ended higher after nearing a six-year low on mixed Chinese data, which showed growth in the world’s second-biggest economy was still in low gear.

Worries that U.S. crude inventories are building pressured oil prices. [nL3N1361EB]

American Petroleum Institute data showed U.S. crude stockpiles jumped last week in a seventh week of builds. The build was also above forecasts by analysts in a Reuters poll. The U.S. Energy Information Administration issues official inventory data on Thursday.

Brent <LCOc1> fell $1.63 to settle at $45.81 a barrel, while U.S. crude <CLc1> dropped $1.28 to settle at $42.93.

“You can talk all you want about oil demand being better next year and beyond, but right now we have a heck of a glut on our hands that I think has to be priced in some more,” said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital.

The dollar, which had been on a charge since strong U.S. jobs data last week boosted the probability of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike next month, slid against most major currencies as investors booked profits from the recent gains.

The U.S. bond market was closed for Veterans Day, adding to the day’s muted trading in bonds and other U.S. markets.

The dollar index <.DXY> was down 0.4 percent at 98.929 after touching its highest in seven months Tuesday. The euro was up slightly against the dollar <EUR=>, last trading at $1.0741, after dropping below $1.07 for the first time in more than six months Tuesday morning.

A disappointing forecast from Macy’s <M.N>, which dragged down U.S. retailers’ shares, also weighed on Wall Street. Macy’s closed down 14 percent at $40.44 a share.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 55.99 points, or 0.32 percent, to 17,702.22, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 6.72 points, or 0.32 percent, to 2,075 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 16.22 points, or 0.32 percent, to 5,067.02.

MSCI’s all-country world index <.MIWD00000PUS> was up 0.1 percent, while European shares <.FTEU3> closed up 0.7 percent after well-received earnings reports from companies including Henkel <HNKG_p.DE>.

CHINA DATA HITS METALS

China’s October industrial production growth cooled to 5.6 percent year-on-year, slightly lower than the 5.8 percent gain economists polled by Reuters had expected, though it was cushioned by a just-above-forecast 11 percent jump in retail sales.

China’s economy is the world’s biggest consumer of copper <CMCU3>, which ended up 0.4 percent at $4,943 after hitting $4,885 a tonne, its weakest since a six-year low of $4,855 in August. Zinc and lead, two other industrial metals, hit multi-year lows as well before recovering.

At the same time, the Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index <.BADI>, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, continued to slip, falling 3.7 percent.

“China’s recovery is slow. It’s really affecting all the base metals,” said analyst Helen Lau of broker Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

(Additional reporting by Barani Krishnan and Dion Rabouin in New York; and Marc Jones and Maytaal Angel in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)