BANGKOK – Expectations that demand for crude would likely be subdued in the aftermath of the massive storm that slammed into the U.S. East Coast earlier this week caused oil prices to sag on Friday.
Benchmark crude for December delivery fell 90 cents at late afternoon Bangkok time to $86.19 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Despite ongoing disruptions at refineries and supply terminals in the U.S. Northeast, analysts said the U.S. remained stocked with sufficient supplies and that demand for crude oil would be lower than anticipated for a few weeks.
Caroline Bain, commodities analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, said the storm's impact on the oil market would likely be temporary, assuming the resumption of refinery operations.
"The recent expansion in US shale oil production will mean that crude oil stocks in the country will remain high for much of the year, depressing prices, and insulating the US somewhat from the supply risks that are putting pressure on crude oil prices elsewhere in the world," she said in a market commentary.
Benchmark oil gained 85 cents to finish at $87.09 per barrel in New York on Thursday, with positive U.S. economic news helping to boost prices.
Reports for October showed manufacturing expanded for the second straight month, private businesses added more jobs and consumer confidence was at the highest level in nearly five years. And the government says crude inventories shrank last week.
The next key report is due Friday when the government releases the October jobs data.
In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 35 cents to $107.82 per barrel.
In other trading:
— Heating oil fell 0.8 cents to $3.0142 per gallon.
— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.6 cents at $2.6273 per gallon.
— Natural gas fell 0.8 cents to $3.68 per 1,000 cubic feet.