MARKET WATCH: Brent oil futures prices fall as China’s factory output slows in August

Crude oil futures rose modestly on the New York market on Sept. 15 while Brent fell modestly on the London market. Meanwhile, China released an economic report indicating possible weakening world oil demand.

Analysts noted China’s reported factory output grew at its weakest pace in nearly 6 years during August, which market participants took as a sign of slowing economic momentum that could trigger lower oil demand.

China’s industrial output rose 6.9% in August from a year earlier compared with expectations for 8.8% growth. Statistics for July had showed 9% growth. On Sept. 16, the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s monthly foreign direct investment numbers for August dipped to the lowest level in more than 4 months.

Meanwhile, US manufacturing output fell during August, the Federal Reserve reported Sept. 15. The decline was attributed largely to a sharp production decline at auto plants. Analysts noted it was the first decline for overall US industrial production this year since January.

US natural gas prices rose Sept. 15 on both the futures market and in cash trading. Analysts attributed to climb in gas prices at least partially to possible gas supply concerns after an offshore pipeline explosion killed one contract worker and injured two other people.

Chevron Pipe Line Co. of Houston reported a pipeline belonging to Chevron Midstream Pipeline LLC exploded in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana on Sept. 13, and Chevron shut in the pipeline pending an investigation. The pipeline is part of a system that delivers gas to an interconnection in Erath, La.

The explosion happened 6 miles south of Timbalier Bay during maintenance work. Cause of the incident remains under investigation.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange October crude oil contract rose 65¢ to $92.92/bbl on Sept. 16. The November contract climbed 62¢ to $91.99/bbl.

The natural gas contract for October was up 7.4¢ to a rounded $3.93/MMbtu. On the US cash market, gas at Henry Hub, La., gained 10¢ to $3.91/MMbtu.

Heating oil for October delivery was down less than a penny to remain at $2.74/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for October delivery climbed 1.2¢ to at a rounded $2.53/gal.

The October ICE contract for Brent crude delivery dropped 46¢ to $96.65/bbl. The November Brent contract declined by 8¢ to $97.88/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for October was down 75¢ to $831.50/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Sept. 15 was $94.68/bbl, down $1.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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