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Oil prices pause after sharp falls

20 Juin 2017

USA oil production has also improved rapidly as last week data highlighted a record 22nd consecutive week of an increase in the number of United States oil drilling rigs. Despite the reduction in production from oil producers, the level of exports is still high as many tanker-tracking data showed.

Oil prices fell to seven-month lows on Tuesday after news of increases in supply by several key producers, a trend that has undermined attempts by OPEC and others to support the market through reduced output.

Oil headed for the longest run of weekly losses since August 2015 as US crude stockpiles remain stubbornly high and as Libyan production climbs toward the most in four years.

With oil prices dropping below $45, losing all the gains from the Organisation of the Petroleum Countries (Opec) output cut, crude markets are in for some real, fundamental, trouble.

As recently as May 1, the average daily volume stored in tankers was about 74 million barrels, according to Kpler.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude for delivery in JulyCLN7, +0.05% fell 54 cents, or 1.2%, to close at $44.20 a barrel, its lowest close since November 14.

Prices will probably test $40 a barrel if we see a weak gasoline demand number and crude draws don't exceed 5 million barrels in the next release of USA inventory data on June 21, Brent Belote, founder of Cayler Capital LLC, said by telephone.

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If OPEC wanted to push stockpiles back down to their five-year average, its official target, then the cartel would need to carry out much deeper cuts in its levels of production, the broker said in a research report published on Monday but dated 16 June.

Exports of Nigeria's benchmark Bonny Light crude oil are set to reach 226,000 bpd in August, up from 164,000 bpd in July, loading programmes show. India took in 4.2 percent less crude in May than it did a year before.

Traders noted the Brent front-month contract was at the highest premium since late May over the same WTI contract. The agency's first look at 2018 suggested that US crude production will increase 780,000 b/d year-over-year, but "such is the dynamism of this extraordinary, very diverse industry it is possible that growth will be faster".

Speaking to London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Libya in particular that it wasn't his place to weigh in on what he described as a slow pace of recovery in production.

Adding to the stress, OPEC said its production climbed the most in six months in May, as Libya and Nigeria revived output.

"Short-term volatility is mostly a reaction to short-term factors ... as well as the role of speculators in stock markets that increase market volatility", he added.

Oil prices pause after sharp falls