By Devika Krishna Kumar
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell nearly 1 percent on Friday as global supply increased and investors worried demand growth could slow, pressuring U.S. crude to its longest stretch of daily declines since 1984.
Crude futures benchmarks have slid about 20 percent or more since peaking in early October.
"Market sentiment has shifted from the most bullish tone in years with many calling for $100 only weeks ago, to the weakest investor sentiment since the 2016 price trough."
Benchmark Brent crude
Brent slumped about 3.6 percent for the week and more than 15 percent this quarter.
U.S. crude fell for the 10th straight day, the longest such streak since July 1984, according to Refinitiv data.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures
Hedge funds cut bullish wagers on U.S. crude in the latest week to the lowest level in more than a year, data showed, while speculators slashed bullish bets on Brent crude to the lowest since July 2017. [CFTC/]
Demand worries followed forecasts for slower economic growth in 2019, largely due to a U.S.-China trade war. [IEA/M]
On Friday, Chinese data showed producer inflation fell in October for the fourth straight month on cooling domestic demand and manufacturing activity. The report sent global stocks into a tailspin. [MKTS/GLOB]
But other big producers have more than compensated for lost Iranian barrels. The United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia are pumping at or near record highs, producing more than 33 million barrels per day (bpd), a third of the world's oil.
Bernstein Energy now expects "Iranian exports will average 1.4 million to 1.5 million bpd" during the exemption period, about half the volume in mid-2018.
Inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for U.S. crude futures, have risen for seven straight weeks.
"As OPEC exports continue to rise, inventories continue to build, which is putting downward pressure on oil prices," Bernstein said. "A slowdown in the global economy remains the key downside risk to oil."
Still, a return to oil production cuts by OPEC and its allies next year cannot be ruled out, two OPEC sources said this week. A ministerial committee of some OPEC members and allies meets on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.
GRAPHIC: Russian, U.S. & Saudi crude oil production (https://tmsnrt.rs/2CTwqaq)
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