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Crude oil futures markets await OPEC and IEA monthly reports

13 March 2018

New indications of growing US output come as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries-which has been holding back output by 1.8 million barrels a day since the start of last year-is divided over how high the price of oil should be.

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

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.22 a barrel up 18 cents, or 0.3 per cent while Brent crude futures were at $65.70 per barrel, up 21 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from their previous close. Gross short positions on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed to their highest in almost a month.

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Brent crude futures slipped 54 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to settle at US$64.95 (RM253.38) per barrel. In February, even Saudi Arabia's state oil company considered participating in these flows via a USA unit, before determining it wasn't economically viable at the time.

The predictions and the forecasts for the oil production are looking grim at an expected 11 million barrels per day and more by the end of the year. According to the report, crude production from major shale formations is expected to rise by 131,000 barrels per day in April to a high of 6.95 million barrels per day.

Oil prices would have plunged even lower if OPEC and Russian Federation hadn't placed a restraint on production to avoid a glut or oversupply.

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Oil markets continued to flip back and forth over the past weeks due to excless supply, increasing USA production and soaring global demand. "We need to see prices in the short-term trade below US$60 to reduce that incentive for USA producers", he said.

On one side is Saudi Arabia, which wants oil prices at $70 a barrel or higher, and on the other is Iran, which wants them around $60.

Energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday that energy companies last week cut oil rigs for the first time in nearly two months.

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Meanwhile, data out Friday did show that hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish bets on USA crude oil for the first time in three weeks. By January 9, it hit $68 before falling to $61.64 by February 1.

Crude oil futures markets await OPEC and IEA monthly reports