Falling oil wipes out gains from Opec production cut


06 May, 2017

Brent actually dipped below $49 per barrel, raising fears of another downturn.

Opec and other oil nations are meeting on 25 May where they will discuss the success of the six-month cutback and whether it should be deepened. But it has been a painful and protracted process.

"With the (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) drawing, total USA petroleum stocks fell 161,000 barrels". Prices are down 7.1 percent this week, heading for a third weekly decline.

Data released on Tuesday indicated United States crude stocks fell 930,000 barrels last week.

The deputy director of energy policy of the Institute of Energy and Finances, Alexey Belogoriev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that, despite the decline in prices, it fits into market volatility within the expected range of fluctuations of $46-55 per barrel.

Even so, Mr McGillian said, "We still have a near record overhang and signs of increasing production in areas of the world outside the producers that agreed to the cuts".

The drillers' most-valuable product was working against them.

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The price for West Texas Intermediate hit a five-month low, with the June futures contract losing $2.30 U.S. to end the day at $45.52.

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"At some point, the market should recognize OPEC isn't the most important player in the market any more", said Commerzbank's Eugen Weinberg, "That is non-OPEC, and, above all, USA shale".

According to him, such volatility in oil prices makes the extension of the deal with OPEC unavoidable. A WSJ survey of 14 investment banks finds an average projected Brent oil prices for this year at $57 per barrel, an estimate that is starting to look a bit overly optimistic.

Both Brent and WTI futures are down around 17% for the year so far despite the OPEC effort to support prices.

The result has been 11 weeks of expansion in U.S. output in longest run of gains since 2012. "I don't see any way you can spin this as bullish".

Things are not all bad. "However I feel it is a bit unusual so close to Opec. meeting where a roll over seems likely", said Oystein Berentsen, managing director for oil trading company Strong Petroleum in Singapore.

But the market is getting a bit "jittery" as countries decide whether to extend those cuts, he said.

Moreover, the markets tend to put too much emphasis on one indicator over another. The latest retreat means Brent has lost 7.8 per cent this week as a resurgence in the USA shale industry and concerns about Opec's ability to curb output have cast doubt on the sustainability of a recovery in the oil market.

Traders also remained cautious ahead of Friday's US government payrolls report, following March's underwhelming 98,000 figure. That leaves little upside to an extension but a massive risk to the downside if OPEC fails to extend.

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