The al-Zubair oil field near Basra, Iraq. Picture: REUTERS/ESSAM AL-SUDANI
The al-Zubair oil field near Basra, Iraq. Picture: REUTERS/ESSAM AL-SUDANI

London — Oil fell on Thursday, on course for its fourth consecutive week of decline, as rising crude supply met the bearish combination of concern over global growth and weak equity markets.

Russia is pumping oil at a post-Soviet high, US crude output has topped 11-million barrels per day (bpd) and a Reuters survey of oil cartel Opec production shows the group more than made up for any declines in Iranian shipments in October.

Brent crude futures were down 79c at $74.25 a barrel by 10.43am GMT, while US futures fell 53c to $64.78 a barrel.

“Given these [output] numbers, with Russia pumping hard and the US and Opec as well, and we are not really seeing a pick-up in demand for another month ... it could indicate we’re back to the good old $70 to $80 range that persisted throughout April and August,” Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen said.

A Reuters survey on Wednesday showed that Opec raised oil production last month to its highest since 2016, led with gains by the United Arab Emirates and Libya.

Brent and US crude posted their biggest monthly percentage decline since July 2016 in October, with Brent down 8.8% for the month and US crude losing nearly 11%.

Adding to the negative impact of the Opec output figures, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a sixth straight week of builds in US crude inventories on Wednesday.

Brent has declined from a 2018 high of $86.74 in early October amid growing concern over a possible slowdown in global growth as the US China trade dispute heats up and hits emerging-market economies in particular.

“Oil investors are now betting on the potential of a global slowdown,” said Bruce Xue, an analyst with Huatai Great Wall Capital Management.

China’s manufacturing sector in October expanded at its weakest pace in more than two years, hurt by slowing domestic and external demand, in a sign of deepening cracks in the economy from the trade war with the US.