Oil holds above $75 as storm-hit U.S. supply returns slowly

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LONDON — Brent oil futures dipped on Friday but held above $75 a barrel, remaining on track for weekly gains of more than 3% thanks to the slow recovery in output after two hurricanes in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Brent crude futures fell 27 cents, or 0.36%, to $75.40 a barrel by 0838 GMT, erasing Thursday’s 21 cent gain.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 39 cents, or 0.54%, at $72.22 after settling unchanged in the previous session.

“Oil prices are slightly softer as offshore U.S. production continues to slowly return … and as some countries still struggle to contain the delta variant (of the coronavirus) ,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

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“Crude prices are having another good week despite broad weakness across commodities that stemmed from a resilient U.S. dollar.”

The dollar climbed to a three-week high on Friday, making dollar-traded crude imports more expensive for countries using other currencies.

As of Thursday, about 28% of U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude production remained offline https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-gulf-crude-oil-ramps-up-after-hurricane-losses-data-2021-09-16, two-and-a-half weeks after Hurricane Ida hit.

“It’s still taking longer than people thought in terms of that coming back. That has been a supportive factor in the market,” said Commonwealth Bank commodities analyst Vivek Dhar.

“We’re going to go into more (supply) deficit conditions – that certainly seems to be the view.”

Preliminary data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude exports in September have slipped to between 2.34 million barrels per day (bpd) and 2.62 million bpd from 3 million bpd in late August. (Reporting by Julia Payne in London Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore Editing by David Goodman )