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Futures Movers: U.S. oil benchmark pulls back from nearly 7-year high

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Oil futures lost ground Wednesday, with the U.S. benchmark pulling back after closing the previous session at a nearly seven-year high, as traders cited worries over the outlook for global economic growth.

West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery
CL00,
-0.66%

CLX21,
-0.66%

fell 76 cents, or 0.9%, to $79.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. WTI finished Tuesday at its highest since Oct. 30, 2014.

December Brent crude
BRN00,
-0.77%

BRNZ21,
-0.77%
,
the global benchmark, dropped 80 cents, or 1%, to $82.62 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Brent lost ground Tuesday, with analysts attributing weakness, in part, to the International Monetary Fund’s cut to its global growth outlook.

Oil futures remain “in a well-defined uptrend right now with WTI futures sitting comfortably above the $80/barrel mark, near multiyear highs,” said Tom Essaye, founder of Sevens Report Research, in a note. “But the recent gains have occurred very quickly and some consolidation here around the $80 level in WTI should not come as a surprise.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday left its forecast for 2022 growth in oil demand unchanged from its September projection at 4.2 million barrels a day, with global demand expected to average 100.8 million barrels a day.

OPEC modestly trimmed its forecast for 2021 demand growth to 5.8 million barrels a day, down from its previous projection of 5.96 million barrels a day. That’s due largely to lower-than-expected actual data for the first three quarters of the year and despite healthy demand assumptions about the current quarter, which is expected to be supported by a seasonal uptick in petrochemical and heating fuel demand as well as switching from natural gas to petroleum products due to high gas prices.

Analysts on Wednesday also noted weaker-than-expected import data from China. The figures showed China imported just shy of 10 million barrels a day of crude in September, noted Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, in a note. That was 500,000 barrels a day less than seen in August, while natural-gas imports rose to 10.62 million tones, their highest since January, and coal imports hit 32.9 million tons, the highest this year.

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