Crude oil prices fall as Tropical Storm Nate strengthens
By Christopher Alessi
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Oil prices were mixed Friday as investors waited to see the potential impact of Tropical Storm Nate on U.S. Gulf Coast oil infrastructure.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, November West Texas Intermediate crude fell 50 cents, or 1%, to $50.65 a barrel. It had crossed into positive territory earlier. The contract ended up slightly Thursday following three session declines in a row.
December Brent crude the global oil benchmark, fell 31 cents, or 0.5%, to end at $56.69 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange.
"As we come into the weekend, the market is focusing on the implications of Tropical Storm Nate (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tropical-storm-nate-headed-for-gulf-coast-leaves-22-dead-in-central-america-2017-10-06) and how big any disruptions will be" on crude production and refining capacity, said Richard Mallinson, an analyst at consultancy Energy Aspects.
As with Hurricane Harvey in August, the "tendency is for the focus to be more on refinery shutdowns, which is probably more positive for product prices and probably a little bearish for crude prices," Mr. Mallinson said.
The storm, which formed in Central America, is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane and potentially threaten the Gulf this weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.