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Oil prices brush off Wednesday's falter

Geopolitical issues add positive pressure to crude oil prices in early Thursday trading.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Oil makes another rally attempt at the opening bell Thursday after the previous session lost momentum on U.S. crude oil storage data. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI
Oil makes another rally attempt at the opening bell Thursday after the previous session lost momentum on U.S. crude oil storage data. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Geopolitical issues gave crude oil markets another rally opportunity Thursday after strong U.S. inventory data spoiled a surge in the previous session.

Brent crude opened trading Wednesday above $52 per barrel on signs the U.S. oil industry was slowing down under pressure from the bear market. Brent closed the day in New York at $51.33, but opened up about eight tenths above the previous session to start the trading day Thursday at $51.74 per barrel.

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West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for crude oil, moved from a Wednesday start at $49.15 per barrel to fall to $47.81 by the end of the trading day. WTI inched up nearly 1 percent to start the day Thursday at $48.26 per barrel.

Wednesday's rally lost steam after a mid-afternoon report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed crude oil stocks increased by 3.1 million barrels for the week ending Oct. 2. That suggests demand is still not keeping pace with output despite lower spending from U.S. and international producers.

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In a monthly report released Monday, EIA said total U.S. crude oil production is expected to decline by more than 3 percent from 2015 to 8.9 million barrels per day. In its forecast, EIA said Brent should average price of $54 per barrel for a full-year average. WTI should average about $4 lower than Brent in 2015 and $5 lower in 2016.

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Russian military action in Syria added upward risk pressures to crude oil markets. The White House criticized the Russian action, saying it was trying to intervene to bolster its leverage at a time when low crude oil prices are weakening the Russian economy.

NATO-member Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador to Ankara to hear complaints about airspace violations by the Russian military during the weekend.

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Russia "would be responsible for the consequences in case of their recurrence."

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