Sun, Jun 10, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Oil edges down as OPEC ‘bearish spin’ generates concerns

Bloomberg

Crude closed lower on Friday as traders weighed conflicting supply signals from Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela.

Oil ministers from Saudi Arabia and Russia are set to talk next week, fueling speculation that two of the world’s biggest crude exporters might be ready to wind down historic production limits.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan oil exports have been crippled as the Latin American nation spirals toward economic collapse.

“This shift to OPEC actively contemplating relieving production cuts puts a pretty bearish spin on this market,” said Rob Haworth, who helps oversee US$151 billion at US Bank Wealth Management in Seattle. “That’s really what we’re under pressure from.”

Next week’s discussion between Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak and Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih in Moscow might be a prelude to a broader gathering of OPEC members and allied producers later this month.

The US has appealed to OPEC to raise output amid a run-up in domestic gasoline prices, even as US crude output surges.

“After Saudi Arabia and Russia made the suggestion that OPEC starts lifting output in the second half, the market has been on its heels,” Danske Bank A/S senior analyst Jens Naervig Pedersen said in Copenhagen. “In the end, OPEC will make sure to tread carefully.”

West Texas Intermediate for delivery next month declined US$0.21 to settle at US$65.74 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Total volume traded was about 15 percent less than the 100-day average.

Brent futures for August settlement slid US$0.86 to end the session at US$76.46 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark traded at a US$10.79 premium to West Texas Intermediate for the same month.

Some OPEC members have been reluctant to relax output caps that have been in place since the start of last year.

Against that backdrop, Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday next week.

“We’re going to be subject to incredible headline risk,” New York-based hedge fund Again Capital LLC partner John Kilduff said.

At the same time, “these stories out of Venezuela about scores of ships waiting to load and the inability to supply their contractual volumes has really underpinned the market here,” he added.

Money managers cut bullish ICE Brent crude oil bets by 13,810 net-long positions to 438,186, weekly ICE Futures Europe data on futures and options showed.

A shuttered Caribbean oil refinery once owned by Venezuela’s state oil company and Hess Corp might get new life just in time to meet upcoming changes to ship fuel regulations.

Oil drillers added more rigs in the US this week, undaunted by pipeline bottlenecks that are hindering efforts to ship crude from the nation’s busiest field.

In other commodities, wholesale gasoline stayed at US$2.12 per gallon, while heating oil shed 0.7 percent to US$2.16 per gallon and natural gas fell 1.4 percent to US$2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold was little changed at US$1,302.70 per ounce, while silver declined 0.4 percent to US$16.74 per ounce and copper rose 0.8 percent to US$3.30 per pound, its highest price this year.

Additional reporting by AP

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