March 23, 2018

Oil prices fall on relentless rise in USA crude output

13 March 2018, 11:18 | Melvin Schneider

Oil fell on speculation that growing shale production will stem the drawdown of inventories from the biggest US hub

Oil Slides as Growing Shale Supply Seen Stabilizing US Hub

Oil prices fell on Monday as investors grappled with ongoing concerns over rising US output and tight OPEC supply, while last week's data showing speculators cut bets on oil suggested more selling could be seen.

Oil risks sliding back under $60 a barrel as a surge in US shipments to Asia threatens to undermine a deal between OPEC and its allies, according to ING Groep NV. "We have monthly reports from the International Energy Agency and OPEC in the coming days to influence prices, but for now, crude is having a downbeat start to the week, unwinding some of Friday's effervescent rally".

The renewed confidence in oil comes as investors increasingly grow concerned that U.S. crude producers may undermine efforts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to curb output.

Crude's rebound since previous year is encouraging American drillers to pump even as they make efforts to be disciplined on spending, Patterson said.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at US$61.91 a barrel at 0755 GMT, down 13 cents, or 0.2 per cent.

Crude oil prices fell Monday ahead of closely watched U.S. inflation data that may set the stage for interest rate hikes. Total volume traded was about 23 percent below the 100-day average. The contract climbed 3 percent to $65.49 on Friday.

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In oil markets U.S. energy companies cut oil rigs last week for the first time in nearly two months, with drillers cutting back four rigs, to 796, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.

Still, fears over increasing US production continue to weigh on producers and investors. That followed government data showing the USA added 313 000 jobs in February, the biggest increase since July 2016 and more than the median estimate of 205 000 new positions.

In other news, on Sunday, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said OPEC could agree in June to begin easing current production curbs in 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The pessimistic view was echoed in money managers' short-selling position.

This week's Consumer Price Index (CPI) release, given its potential impact on the dollar, could be critical, said Bill Baruch, president of Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

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