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This Week’s Market Buzz

• Oil futures ended lower at press time, pulling back after four-consecutive sessions of gains lifted prices to their highest levels in weeks. Tensions in Iraq and uncertainty surrounding Iran’s nuclear deal have raised the risk to global crude supplies as expectations for stronger oil demand boosted prospects for a more balanced market. November West Texas Intermediate settled at $51.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. December Brent was $57.23 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

• Oil prices finished higher at press time, buoyed by talk of an extension for a deal to cut output, a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude supplies, and concerns about production as a potential hurricane approaches the Gulf of Mexico. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, November West Texas Intermediate crude rose 81 cents, or 1.6 percent, to settle at $50.79 a barrel, following three session declines in a row. December Brent crud, the global oil benchmark, rose $1.20, or 2.2 percent, to end at $57 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

• As much as 10 percent of U.S. fracking work could be delayed after Hurricane Harvey ripped through south Texas, Raymond James analysts said. More than half of the rigs running in the Eagle Ford shale – the only major U.S. shale formation affected by Harvey – suspended drilling because of the storm, according to the firm. “Given that much of oil and gas activity occurs in areas only accessible via dirt roads, the heavy rainfall usually makes the movement of trucks and supplies much more difficult,” Raymond James' Marshall Adkins wrote. “The trucking and rail of sand, chemicals and personnel to the well site will all take more time given the likely nasty condition of many Eagle Ford access roads."

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This Week’s Market Buzz

• Oil prices have risen more than 15 percent over the last three months as global oil supply has tightened and Hurricane Harvey shut down supply lines. Brent crude oil LCOc1 was down 35 cents at $55.94 a barrel at press time and U.S. light crude was 40 cents lower at $50.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

• Demand for raw frac sand is forecast to increase more than 4 percent per year to nearly 100 billion lb. in 2021, according to “Proppants Market in North America,” a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm. In value terms, raw frac sand is expected to grow 10 percent per year to more than $3 billion in 2021, reflecting substantial gains in average prices as well as volume growth. Healthy growth is forecast for all types of raw frac sand, although both Northern White and Brady sand will see competition from new mines coming online in West Texas. Growth will be driven by robust gains for this other raw sand, which is expected to show increases of 12 percent per year through 2021. While both Canada and the United States will see demand gains through 2021, the United States is by far the larger user of the material. According to analyst Dan Debelius, "In 2016, the United States accounted for 88 percent of raw frac sand demand."

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