Monday, May 29, 2017

Oil trades below US$50 as market pessimism over OPEC deal lingers

Oil traded below US$50 a barrel after OPEC underwhelmed investors with its production-cut extension deal.
Futures fell 0.3 percent in New York. Prices closed 1.1 percent lower last week after OPEC agreed to extend limits on crude output through the first quarter of 2018. Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the oil-cuts strategy is working and that global stockpiles will drop faster in the third quarter. US explorers added two rigs last week to 722, the highest level since April 2015, Baker Hughes Inc said Friday.

“It’s huge inventories around the globe that are really keeping a lid on prices, combined with the ability of those agile US producers who scramble back into action should the oil price rise,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. Trading volumes were comparatively low due to public holidays in the US and the UK.
Oil in New York clawed back from its tumble toward US$45 in the run-up to the meeting in Vienna as Saudi Arabia and Russia rallied support for the deal. Meanwhile, US inventories dropped seven weeks in a row, though they still remain above the five-year average and production rose to the highest since August 2015. Trading volumes were comparatively low due to public holidays in the US and the UK.

West Texas Intermediate for July delivery traded at US$49.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 13 cents, at 3.45pm in Dubai. Total volume traded was about 50 percent below the 100-day average. Prices rose 90 cents to close at US$49.80 on Friday.

US rigs
Brent for July settlement was 11 cents lower at US$52.04 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract gained 69 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at US$52.15 on Friday. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of US$2.36 to WTI.
“We believe the next big move for prices is up as oil inventories fall at an even faster pace in the coming weeks,” Giovanni Staunovo, a Zurich-based commodity analyst at UBS Group AG, said by email. While U.S. shale output is set for “robust growth” in the second half of the year, “we see the oil market tightening further in the coming quarters,” he said.

Rigs targeting crude in the US increased for a 19th straight week in the longest streak of gains since August 2011, according to Baker Hughes data. While the number of working rigs has more than doubled from last year’s low of 316, it was the smallest increase this year. Drillers in the D-J/Niobrara Basin in Colorado led the growth last week, adding four for a total of 27 oil rigs in the region.

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