Brent Oil Ends Week Flat, Pausing Rout, as US Contango Looms


NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Brent oil prices fell on Friday but were little changed on the week as traders caught their breath from a months-long rout, even as signs of rising global supply and a U.S. contango structure threatened deeper losses.

U.S. crude oil futures, meanwhile, continued to slide. Contracts for December delivery settled down $1.08 at $81.01 per barrel, dropping $1.74 since last Friday.

Increased domestic crude stores have depressed the price of short-term futures contracts. The spread between December and January contracts narrowed to 24 cents, threatening to flip to a second-month discount, or contango, for the first time since early this year. The spread <CL-1=R> was at more than 80 cents a few days ago.

Global prices seesawed several times on Friday, initially battered by news that Iraq increased its oil supply in October, while Libya's output remains high, despite instability in both countries.

Oil traders said prices were reversing excessive gains made on Thursday, when the market spiked on news that Saudi Arabia had boosted production but cut supplies to the market in September, instead pumping barrels into storage.

"There's just no shortage of oil anywhere in the world," said Sal Umek of the Energy Management Institute in New York. "Demand is not really robust, and you're going to get the intermittent spell of short-covering."

Brent crude for December delivery settled at $86.13 per barrel, down 70 cents for the day and 3 cents below last Friday's settlement price, off an intraday low of $85.29 a barrel.


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