US oil prices set to post losses as demand falls


US crude oil prices are set to experience the sharpest monthly losses in more than a year due to falling demand in the country after storm Harvey forced around a quarter of refineries in the country to halt production. 

International benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 traded at $50.86 a barrel after falling more than 2% in the previous day, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 stood at $46.12 per barrel to drop by 1% on the previous day, reported Reuters.

Several refineries in the US remain closed, with demand for crude oil dropping significantly in the country.

BMI Research was quoted by the news agency as saying: "The temporary closure of refineries is a major dent to US crude demand and is weighing on both Brent and WTI prices."

However, US gasoline futures RBc1 reached a two-year peak above $2 a gallon due to rising concerns of a fuel shortage.

"The temporary closure of refineries is a major dent in US crude demand and is weighing on both Brent and WTI prices."

Storm Harvey has flooded Texas, the most prominent oil producing and refining state in the US. 

The devastation killed at least 35 people and knocked an estimated 4.4 million barrels per day (bpd) from the refining capacity. 

Earlier, the US Energy Information Administration reported a fall of 5.39 million barrels in US crude stocks to 457.77 million barrels last week. 

It also reported that nearly 17.73 million bpd of crude oil was transported to refineries. 

The figure is expected to drop significantly this week after the impact of Harvey.