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Oil prices move lower after Friday's rig-powered surge

14 March, 2018, 06:07 | Author: Melinda Barton
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Signs of strength in the US economy and data showing American explorers curtailed drilling activity is helping oil hold gains after its biggest jump in seven months.

Oil has struggled to recover losses from last month's broader market slump after topping $66/bbl in January.

Hedge funds increased bets on falling West Texas Intermediate crude prices by the most this year, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In oil markets, USA energy companies last week cut oil rigs for the first time in nearly two months with drillers cutting back four rigs, to 796, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.

Futures in NY were little changed after surging 3.2 percent Friday.

"Oil prices pulled back yesterday as basic fundamentals of oversupply continued to worry the markets", said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta. "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".

ING's outlook is in contrast to bullish views from Royal Bank of Canada and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.to BMI Research and Societe Generale SA, which see prices supported as strong demand soaks up supply from the U.S. While Patterson does see healthy oil consumption, he said growth may slow and fail to completely absorb gaining American output.

Total volume traded was about 53% below the 100-day average.

Crude oil prices reached $65 on Monday after a drop in prices earlier in the year.

Brent for May settlement added 14 cents to $65.63 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark widened to a $3.89 premium to May WTI.

Energy Information Administration data shows that exports have averaged about 1.5 million barrels over the past six months, nearly double the level in the previous six months, with Asia being the biggest buyer. In addition, United States production reached 10 million barrels per day for the first time since 1970.

US production is also expected to rise above 11 million bpd by late 2018, taking the top spot from Russian Federation, according to the International Energy Agency (EIA). Meanwhile, stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI futures, are forecast to have been little changed after 11 straight weeks of declines. Gasoline futures in NY are down 0.2% at $1.8895 a gallon.


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