Investing.com - Crude oil futures fell to three-week lows on Thursday, as easing concerns over a disruption to supplies from Libya and Iraq weighed on prices.
On the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for August delivery slumped to a session low of $110.69 a barrel, the weakest level since June 12, before trimming losses to last trade at $110.75 during European morning hours, down 0.44%, or 49 cents.
Elsewhere, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in August hit a daily low of $103.97, the cheapest since June 12, before coming off the lows to trade at $104.06, down 0.39%, or 41 cents.
Investors continued to unwind positions that had priced in the possibility of major supply disruptions stemming from violence in Libya and Iraq.
Libyan rebels agreed to open two of its ports for oil exports on Wednesday. The two terminals have a capacity to export up to 560,000 barrels of oil a day.
Meanwhile, indications that Iraqi oil exports from the southern part of the country remained insulated from the sectarian violence that has swept the north in recent weeks also weighed.
Futures rallied to nine-month highs amid fears that an insurgency in northern Iraq would spread to the oil-rich south and disrupt the nation''s oil production.
Iraq produced approximately 3 million barrels a day of oil last month, making it OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia.
Later Thursday, investors will look to U.S. June non-farm payrolls to gauge the health of the U.S. economy. The data, which is being released one day earlier than usual due to the July 4 U.S. Independence Day holiday on Friday, is expected to show a gain of 212,000 new jobs in June.
On Wednesday, payroll processing firm ADP said that non-farm private employment rose by a seasonally adjusted 281,000 in June, the highest since November 2012 and easily surpassing expectations for an increase of 200,000.
Investors also looked ahead to the outcome of the European Central Bank’s policy meeting later in the trading day. After unveiling a number of stimulus measures at its June meeting, analysts say the central bank is unlikely to act this time.