Oil futures retreated on Thursday as domestic prices failed to remain above $50 a barrel as OPEC reported that crude production rose in July, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.
September West Texas Intermediate crude shed 97 cents, or 2%, to settle at $48.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
October Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 80 cents, or 1.5%, to end trading at $51.90 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
The $50 level “remains a huge psychological barrier for U.S. oil,” said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric.
“Yes, the inventory data was favorable [for prices], but the [WTI] oil price failed to break the resistance of $50, which was a clear confirmation that traders are not convinced that demand is strong enough to satisfy the supply,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets.
In a monthly report Thursday, OPEC lifted its forecast for global oil demand growth this year by 100,000 barrels a day, saying it now expects growth of 1.37 million barrels a day in 2017. The cartel also said that production from the group rose in July, driven by higher production in Libya, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, September natural gas added 10.2 cents, or 3.5%, to settle at $2.985 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.