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Oil prices retreat on profit-taking

17 Mai 2017

― Reuters picSINGAPORE, May 16 ― Oil prices rose today, extending gains after a joint announcement by top producers Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation to push for an extension of supply cuts until the end of March 2018 gained traction.

Oil futures were up in North American trading on Tuesday, with prices headed closer to daily highs reached in the prior session, as investors looked ahead to weekly data from the US on stockpiles of crude and refined products. US crude was up 4 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $48.89 per barrel.Both benchmarks have risen more than $5 since hitting five-month lows 11 days ago.

The oil market has essentially reached a balance and will continue to accelerate in the near term, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report published Tuesday, just nine days before OPEC's much anticipated ministerial meeting.

Oil cartel Opec and other producers including Russian Federation have pledged to cut output by almost 1.8-million barrels a day during the first half of the year.

But what is known is that United States of America crude inventories fell by a smaller than expected 930,000 barrels last week to 527.8 million barrels, but they are also 3 percent higher than a year ago.

"Given recent USA inventory declines we can expect markets to balance in 2018 if OPEC maintains the cuts".

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Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in November to cut 1.2 million barrels a day of oil production. The goal is to reduce the amount of oil sitting in storage to the five-year average.

Crude sank to a five-month low earlier this month, rattled by concern over increasing USA crude output that has shaken investors' faith in the ability of OPEC to rebalance the market.

Current Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, speaking on 6 May, said he believed producers were likely to extend the Opec-led deal although he did not give a timeframe, and added $55 was a suitable price for oil.

The contract rose $1.01 to close at $48.85 on Monday, the highest since April 28th.

"This statement shows the commitment by Opec and major non-Opec oil producers to bringing stability to the oil market, in which is essential to have security of supply in coming years", said one of the sources.

But the rebound has emboldened producers beyond the two dozen nations that have curtailed output, particularly US shale drillers that rely on expensive production methods to unlock oil and gas from rock formations.

Oil prices retreat on profit-taking