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Oil demand slumps in August

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Hasan Jamali/AP/File

(Read caption) In this April 2010 file photo, a worker signals on a new oil rig at sunset in the Persian Gulf desert oil field of Sakhir, Bahrain. The American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. petroleum deliveries were down to 18.6 million barrels per day, according to OilPrice.com.

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A U.S. energy trade group said the petroleum market in the country was hit by slumping demand. Total petroleum deliveries for August were at their lowest level for the month in 15 years and domestic oil production followed similar trends. Unemployment figures and data from the manufacturing sector were listed as contributing factors. Overseas, meanwhile, the IMF said there were short-term prospects for recovery, though trouble was brewing over the horizon.

The American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. petroleum deliveries were down to 18.6 million barrels per day. While this represents a 2.8 increase from the previous month, it reflects a 4.3 decline from the same period last year and marks a 15-year low for the month. Petroleum deliveries are an indication of market demand and the API's chief economist, John Felmy, said levels for August are indicative of a lacklustre economy. (RELATED: US Navy Develops a Technique to Produce Jet Fuel from Sea Water

"Given the nation’s weak employment situation, it’s no surprise petroleum demand was off," he said in a statement. "Contraction in the manufacturing sector probably also reflects the slipping numbers."
 
The U.S. rate of unemployment has stayed above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months, the longest period since World War II.
 
Gasoline demand for August was down 0.4 percent compared to the same time last year. Hurricane Isaac, which struck the southern U.S. coast as a Category 1 storm late August, shuttered gulf coast production, causing a spillover effect in retail markets. Some regions of the United States saw prices hover above $4 per gallon for several weeks after the storm. API, however, said demand for gasoline was down nearly a full percentage for the year. (RELATED: Coal Set for a Strong Comeback in Europe

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