WTI Crude Settles in Bear Market, Down 21% From October Peak

Workers at an onshore Iranian oil facility

Prices fell to a almost eight-month low on Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported the seventh consecutive weekly increase in U.S. crude stockpiles.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for December delivery sank $1 to settle at $60.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest level since March. WTI settled at US$76.41 a barrel on October 3.

USA light crude oil was 55c lower at $60.12, down 4.7% this week and off more than 20% since early October, putting it officially in "bear market" territory.

"Waivers are likely to be more extensive than the market expected", energy consultancy FGE said, estimating that waivers overall would allow 1.2 to 1.7 million bpd of exports.

But a short-term pop to $80 per barrel crude could be coming, say oil experts.

The US government re-imposed the sanctions after withdrawing in May from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, which is more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). "If we sell our oil for $1 less than market price, it will have tens of buyers".

But prices rallied back above $73.04 dollars yesterday, the TASS report said.

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Analysts continue to believe that oil's slide is a case of bad timing.

IN THE END, President Donald Trump kicked the Iran crude oil sanctions can six months down the road, raising questions as to how the various players in the dispute will use the time.

But the exemptions granted to Iran's biggest oil clients: China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey, allow them to import at least some oil for another 180 days and could mean exports start to rise after November.

A first round of American sanctions took effect in August, targeting Iran's access to the USA dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector.

"Jameel Ahmad, head of market research at futures brokerage FXTM said the "sanctions on Iran have been priced into the oil markets a long time ago", and that he would instead focus more heavily on the global demand outlook because of the ongoing external uncertainties weighing down on economic prospects". Gold edged higher, but oil dipped as fears continue to grow that too much oil is emerging as Russian Federation, the Saudis and the USA boost production.

Zanganeh claimed the Trump administration may have been able to "superficially" bring fuel prices down ahead of the US mid-term elections this week but that there's bound to be a hike in prices in the future.

While crude oil prices somewhat strengthened in early morning trade on news that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia were in talks to cut down crude output next year, oil prices pared earlier gains once the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed domestic crude inventories rose 5.8 million barrels last week, or more than double expectations, Reuters reports.

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