Front-month US crude futures were trading at US$44.65 per barrel at 10.53 pm ET, five cents above their last close but more than 12 per cent lower than their October peak.
International benchmark Brent was four cents higher at US$48.03 a barrel but more than 11 percent below October’s high.
ANZ Bank said it expected prices to remain low for the remainder of this year and that speculators were cutting their bets on higher prices. “Net speculative (US) long positions declined by 13,841 contracts for the week ending 20 October,” the bank said.
On the demand side, research agency Energy Aspects said in its quarterly outlook that it “forecast a sharp slowdown in global oil demand across Q4 15 at 0.8 million barrels per day, which marks the slowest pace of growth in five quarters”. Energy Aspects said the ongoing oversupply in crude oil was starting to spill into the market for refined products, with a product stock-build of 0.6 million barrels per day. – Reuters