Oil prices fell on Monday, holding near two-month lows amid worries that a global glut of crude and refined products would weigh on markets for some time.
Brent crude futures were trading at $45.45 a barrel at 0956 GMT (5.56 a.m. ET), down 24 cents from their previous close, while U.S. crude was down 25 cents at $43.94 a barrel.
Both benchmarks were close to two-month lows reached last week.
Traders said ongoing oversupply and growing economic headwinds were weighing on oil.
“The potential for larger-than-normal stock builds is growing,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.
“With the market increasingly trading on DOE (U.S. Department of Energy) stats, this could be a catalyst for additional downside,” the bank said.
Barclays bank said global oil demand in the third quarter of 2016 was expanding at less than a third of the year-earlier rate, weighed down by anaemic economic growth.
Demand support from developed economies had faded, while growth from China and India had slowed, Barclays said.
Morgan Stanley added that headwinds were growing for the second half of the year, leading to expectations of lower oil prices. It pointed to resilient U.S. supply, falling demand for transport fuels, and oversupply by refiners.
“As a result, crude oil demand from refineries is underperforming product demand by a wide margin,” the bank said.
But consultancy Energy Aspects said the oil market was beginning to show small signs of “normalcy” in supply-and-demand balances.
“Crude markets are slowly tightening and are now more resilient in the face of falling refinery demand for crude,” the consultancy said.
“We do not mean that the rebalancing is over, or even close to being over, but nevertheless, we are now in a new market paradigm where the steps towards normalcy begin.”
New tensions in Libya highlight that the OPEC member is unlikely to see a significant boost to its oil exports any time soon, after the national oil corporation said it objected to a deal to reopen key ports.
A strong dollar and a fourth weekly rise in the U.S. oil rig count also weighed on prices. [USD/] [RIG/U]
Money managers cut their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions, which would profit from rising prices, to a four-month low in the week to July 19, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.