Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Gold Prices Steady as Oil Falls

The signs of physical oversupply abound from Europe to West Africa to the US. A North Sea grade that helps to set the global Brent benchmark is trading near its weakest in almost two years Are Hedge Funds Running From Oil?
Mae Harvey | 21 March, 2017, 00:26

Oil prices slipped succumbing to rising USA drilling activity and a steady supply from OPEC countries despite production cut deal.

The May contract of West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the United States benchmark of oil prices, fell 1.6% to $48.54 per barrel.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) ended Thursday's trade 11 cents lower at $48.75/barrel, edging off a three-month low hit last Tuesday.

The initial news about OPEC's planned cuts caused the price of Brent crude oil to soar from less than $4 per barrel to more than $52. "A major threat to the market, whether a BAT or simple tariffs are enforced, could arise from diminished oil and product demand as protectionist policies are sure to weigh on economic growth". Even though banks including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. expect higher prices later this year, investors have been closing their bets on a rally since late February.

Baker Hughes reported that in the week leading up to 17 March, US shale companies added 14 oil rigs, increasing the number of operating rigs to 631, the most since September 2015.

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Opec has raised its 2017 estimates for oil production from outside of the cartel as United States shale drillers ramp up activity in response to higher prices, underlining the threat to the group's attempts to balance the market. The continued build-up of the USA supply of crude has more than countered the production cuts agreed to by members of OPEC. The nation's crude output has climbed to 9.1 million barrels a day, the most since February past year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Reacting to the oversupply, traders cut net long positions in oil, the biggest cut on record, according to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data compiled by Reuters.

The output cut has not done much to end the supply glut and global oil demand continues to be lower than the supply. At the end of a year ago, they agreed to reduce production to ensure prices would go up.

The Opec and some non-Opec producers cut production from January 1 to reduce record stocks of crude. Saudi Arabia's energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, has said Opec will extend the deal if stockpiles are still above their five-year average. U.S. rig count has been increasing for nine consecutive weeks and latest forecasts show that USA shale output will continue to inch higher in April.

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