Oil falls to $126, storm concern eases

LONDON - Oil dropped more than $2 to $126 a barrel on Wednesday, falling for a second straight session, as concern eased that Hurricane Dolly would hit Gulf of Mexico crude supply.

By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 23 Jul 2008, 6:40 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:56 PM

The slowing U.S. economy and lacklustre energy demand in the world's top consumer also weighed on the market, analysts said. Attention later on Wednesday will focus on the latest weekly U.S. inventory report.

"Dolly has not deviated much from its forecasted path," said Olivier Jakob, oil analyst at Petromatrix. "Its price impact potential should now be discounted."

By 1136 GMT, U.S. crude for September was down $2.11 at $126.31. The August contract expired on Tuesday after falling as far as $125.63, the lowest since June 5.

Brent crude was $2.11 lower at $127.44.

Oil's further drop coincided with a firmer dollar, which may have reduced the appeal of commodities to some investors, analysts said. The dollar hit a one-month high against the yen on Wednesday.

Analysts who chart past price movements to predict future direction said the market could head lower for now, given that the next area of support is around $120 to $122 a barrel for U.S. crude.

"In addition to Dolly's likely fade into oblivion, we suspect that crude's technicals are not helping matters much either," analysts at MF Global said in a report.

Even after its pullback from the July 11 record high of $147.27, oil has rallied almost 30 percent in 2008 and is up from $20 in early 2002, driven by demand from fast-growing economies like China.

Hurricane Dolly was still expected to come ashore well away from the key offshore platforms, even after it was upgraded to the Atlantic season's second hurricane late on Tuesday.

Oil companies working in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico shut 5 percent of oil and natural gas output by Tuesday but those outages were expected to be short-lived.

Later on Wednesday, the latest U.S. inventory report is expected to show crude stocks fell by 700,000 barrels and stocks of distillates rose by 2.3 million barrels, according to a Reuters poll.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its inventory data for the week to July 18 at 1435 GMT.

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