Oil prices fall into bear market on rising supply, economic concerns

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UPDATE 1-Oil prices fall into bear market on rising supply, economic concerns

* Oil prices hit 4-year highs in early October

* Crude has since slumped as supply rises, demand slows

* Iran sanctions impact dampened by broad exemptions

* U.S., Russia, Saudi crude output: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Rua0R8 (Adds China Iran oil lifting detail, updates prices)

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Oil markets on Friday remainedweak as rising supply and concerns of an economic slowdownpressured prices, with U.S. crude now down by around 20 percentsince early October.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at$65.60 per barrel at 0509 GMT, down 4 cents, or 0.1 percent fromtheir last settlement. WTI is set to fall for a fifth week, down4.1 percent so far this week.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were at $70.69 abarrel, 4 cents above their last close. Brent is set for a 2.9percent drop for the week, its fifth straight week of declines.

Both Brent and WTI have declined by around 20 percent fromthe four-year highs they reached in early October.

"Oil prices continue to decline and are now officially in abear market, having declined 20 percent from their (October)peak," said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst atAustralia's Rivkin Securities.

Reuters technical commodity analyst Wang Tao said on Fridaythat "Brent oil may slide further into a range of $68.59-$69.69per barrel."

That would be the first time Brent has fallen below $70since April.

Analysts said the main downward price pressure came fromrising supply, despite the U.S. sanctions against Iran that wereimposed this week, as well as concerns over an economicslowdown.

"As OPEC exports continue to rise, inventories continue tobuild which is putting downward pressure on oil prices,"analysts at Bernstein Energy said.

"A slowdown in the global economy remains the key downsiderisk to oil," Bernstein added.

The decline in prices over the past weeks follows a rallybetween August and October when crude rose ahead of there-introduction of sanctions against Iran's oil exports on Nov.5.

The sanctions, however, are unlikely to cut as much oil outof the market as initially expected as Washington has grantedexemptions to Iran's biggest buyers which will allow them tocontinue buying limited amounts of crude for at least anothersix months. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N1XK10Q

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) said on Friday it wascontinuing to take oil from Iranian oilfields in which it hasownership stakes.

"Our main cooperation with Iran is upstream investment.Lifting equity oil is recouping our investment there," HouQijun, deputy general manager for CNPC, said on the sidelines ofan industry event in Shanghai. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N1XK1NT

Bernstein Energy expects "Iranian exports will average1.4-1.5 million barrels per day (bpd)" during the exemptionperiod," down from a peak of almost 3 million bpd in mid-2018.

FACTBOX-The knowns and unknowns of U.S. Iran oil sanction
waivers    urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N1XK10Q
GRAPHIC: Russian, U.S. & Saudi crude oil production   https://tmsnrt.rs/2CTwqaq
(Reporting by Henning GloysteinEditing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger) ((henning.gloystein@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3263;@hgloystein))

This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Oil , Commodities

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