Oil prices were lower in Asia trade on Friday as traders brace for an increase in oil exports from Libya and Nigeria, and the increase in U.S oil product inventories weighs on prices.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures CLV6, -0.73% traded at $43.61 a barrel, down 30, or 0.7%, in the Globex electronic session. Brent crude LCOX6, -0.69% on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell 33 cents, or 0.7%, to $46.26 a barrel.
Nigeria and Libya are both preparing to ramp up their oil exports, which may weigh on oil prices. Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil have both lifted force majeures on Nigerian exports after militants had caused the shut-in of supply.
Libya’s state oil company also lifted curbs on sales from three ports on Wednesday, ANZ Bank said. Libya is now planning to resume exports from its Ras Lanuf port and a tanker is due to be loaded with 600,000 barrels of crude.
“Continued oil price weakness, tepid demand growth in key markets and weak financial results will force major Asian oil companies to continue to abide by tight cost-cutting measures, while seeking to improve operational efficiency and become more flexible,” BMI Research said in a report.
It added that oil prices are expected to gradually recover over late 2016 and 2017, but noted that their forecast for Brent to average $45.5 per barrel in 2016 is still 15.1% lower than the average price in 2015.
Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for September RBZ6, -0.34% — the benchmark gasoline contract — fell to 1.4298 cents a gallon from 1.4302 cents.
ICE gasoil for October changed hands at $412.75 a metric ton, down $2.75 from Thursday’s settlement.