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Crude oil futures - weekly outlook: August 11 - 15

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Shutterstock photo - - London-traded Brent oil futures reversed gains on Friday to end the session lower amid speculation that U.S. airstrikes against Islamic militants in northern Iraq will stabilize supplies from OPEC's second-largest producer.

On the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for September delivery rose to a session high of $106.85 a barrel, the most since July 30, before settling at $105.02 by close of trade, down 0.4%, or 42 cents.

Despite Friday's losses, the September Brent contract rose 0.17%, or 18 cents, on the week.

U.S. President Barack Obama authorized air strikes in Iraq to halt a Sunni insurgency there and to protect Iraqi civilians from the uprising as well as U.S. personnel in the country.

Oil prices initially moved higher on the news, before turning lower, as analysts said U.S. airstrikes might lower the risk of oil supply disruptions from the country.

Iraq produced approximately 3.5 million barrels a day of oil last month, making it OPEC's second-biggest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, news reports that Russia ended military exercises on the Ukrainian border eased concerns that an invasion could take place.

NATO warned earlier in the week that Russia massed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's border in preparation for a possible ground invasion.

Elsewhere, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in September hit a daily high of $98.45 a barrel, the most since August 5, before paring gains to end at $97.65, up 0.32%, or 31 cents.

For the week, Nymex oil futures lost 0.23%, or 23 cents, as concerns over U.S. demand for oil and fuel products like gasoline weighed.

Meanwhile the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $7.37 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, compared to $6.96 in the preceding week.

Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers decreased their bullish bets in New York-traded oil futures in the week ending August 5.

Net longs totaled 236,381 contracts as of last week, down 14.5% from net longs of 276,741 in the preceding week.

In the week ahead, investors will be continuing to monitor geopolitical risk, while preliminary data on second quarter growth from the euro zone will be closely watched.

Markets watchers will also be looking ahead to U.S. report on July retail sales for further clues about the U.S. economy and the timing of future interest rate hikes. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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