Crude oil prices fell nearly 2% today as traders shrugged off the impact of the attempted coup in Turkey and the market turned its attention to bearish fundamentals, while disruptions to crude exports in Libya lent prices some support.
Brent crude futures fell 85 cents to $46.76 a barrel by 1311 GMT, while U.S. crude futures were 82 cents lower at $45.13 a barrel.
"The market is looking past the coup," CMC Markets' chief market analyst in Sydney Ric Spooner said.
Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait, a chokepoint for oil that handles about 3% of global shipments, mainly from Black Sea ports and the Caspian region, reopened on Saturday after closing for several hours after Friday's failed coup.
News that oil guards protesting over pay shut Libya's Hariga oil terminal yesterday dampened hopes the country could boost its output significantly any time soon.
"Libya remains a wild card in the global oil market balance," SEB chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop said.
"This morning, however, an immediate revival in Libyan crude exports looks less daunting and might help to support crude prices slightly."
Saudi Arabia's energy minister said yesterday the kingdom always reacts to oil market supply and demand and would continue to monitor crude markets for any developments.
The race among oil suppliers to meet the rise in demand for imports from China's independent refineries is heating up, with Iran supplying a two-million-barrel cargo via trader Trafigura.
A report by Morgan Stanley raised concerns about the longer-term outlook for oil consumption as demand for petrochemicals rather than fuels such as diesel and gasoline is clouding the outlook for crude demand.
"Fundamental headwinds are growing, supply-demand rebalancing is likely still a mid-2017 event, but tail risks are admittedly large in both directions, as geopolitics add to uncertainty," the report said.
"A rapid rise of non-petroleum products is boosting total product demand, but this is unhelpful for crude oil. Based on the latest data, even our tepid 800,000 barrels per day growth estimate for global crude runs looks too high."
Oil market investors again cut their bullish bets on Brent to their lowest since February.
Data from the InterContinental Exchange today showed investors cut net long positions by 8,899 to 303,371 in the week to July 12, their lowest since Feb. 22.