Oil prices dropped month-on-month as the US government shut-down caused concerns in the market that energy demand in the world’s largest oil consumer would fall. Market uncertainty helped drive the price down, as the closure prevented the publication of government data on stock levels. Month-ahead Brent crude oil fell 1.8% to a monthly average of $109.3/bl. The price of crude slipped further to a two-month low of $106.8/bl on 25 October after talks between the international community and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme showed progress.
Gas is historically prices at a discount to oil, and so the fall in oil contracts fed through into gas. The benchmark annual gas contract fell 0.9% to a monthly average of 66.5p/th with lower demand due to milder temperatures. High supplies and a rise in storage levels helped pull the contract down.