Oil prices stabilize, but supply glut concerns weigh on sentiment

Saudis scramble to stop oil price slide

Reuters Todd Korol

At the same time, supply has been surging, especially due to a 22 percent rise in USA crude oil production this year to a record 11.6 million barrels per day (bpd).

USA crude futures lost $3.59, or 6 per cent, to hit $56.35 a barrel, lowest since December 2017, as of 1:45 p.m. EST (1845 GMT), putting it on track for its largest one-day percentage loss since January 2016.

Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil dropped in price 7.1% down $4.24 to $55.69 a barrel.

Initially Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members upped production, as was the case in similar circumstances in the past, leaving oil importers such as India are seeking to source supply from further afield and replacing Iranian crude with supply from the likes of west Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean.

Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft, agreed, adding it would be "silly" to make predictions about oil prices as it was unclear what action the us might take, and what other major oil market players, including Saudi Arabia, could do in terms of adjusting production.

Riyadh indicated on Monday it was on course to ignore the United States president's wishes at OPEC's next meeting due in December because it saw a need to reduce OPEC output by a collective one million barrels per day during 2019.

"Crude oil futures succumbed to overwhelmingly bearish pressure amidst ... weaker market fundamentals", said Benjamin Lu, analyst at brokerage Phillip Futures in Singapore.

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Spot prices in September were significantly higher than those for later delivery, a structure known as backwardation that implies a tight market as it is unattractive to put oil into storage.

Futures in NY fell were little changed after recovering slightly on Wednesday from a 17.6% slide over the previous 12 sessions.

"The oversupply in the market is a made-in-America phenomenon", Morse said Wednesday.

The markets will be facing an oil glut in 2019 as supply will outpace demand.

In the meantime, crude oil prices appear to have found contention at fresh 2018 lows at $54.76 recorded last Tuesday, all amidst the largest sell-off since 2014.

To do so successfully, OPEC - under the de-facto leadership of Saudi Arabia - will need Russian Federation on its side, which is not an OPEC member. USA total petroleum supplied jumped to a record. However, I am expected in the December OPEC meeting to be the catalyst to give some relief to the falling Oil market as they announce production cuts.

Putin was more upbeat on the current market situation than his colleagues in OPEC, saying "where it is now, where it was recently, anything around $70 suits us completely".

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