Down go oil prices, hopes for output curbs fade

Down go oil prices, hopes for output curbs fade

Monday, April 4, 2016 8:36 am

Petrol pumps

Petrol pumps

U.S. crude futures  were at $36.33 per barrel at 0700 GMT on Monday, down 1.25 percent or 46 cents from their last settlement, while Brent crude  was down 1 percent or 40 cents at $38.27.

The  global glut, fading hopes about an output curb by oil producers,   high U.S. output, worries about Asia’s economic outlook  were responsible for the latest downside in the oil market, Reuters reported today.

With Iran insisting  it would continue increasing its oil production and exports until it reaches the market position it enjoyed before the imposition of sanctions, the proposed deal by major producers to restrict ballooning output now seems unlikely. This is more so  as top exporter Saudi Arabia said last week it would only participate in output curb if  Iran also took part.

“Macroeconomic concerns and high petroleum inventories are the oil market’s ball and chain and are likely to keep the oil price between the mid-$30s and low $40s in Q2,” Barclays said.

While some analysts expect a recent weakening of the U.S. dollar  to spur demand for oil from importers holding other currencies, Morgan Stanley said “negative oil headlines, producer hedging at higher prices and bloated inventories” indicate any upside in prices will be limited.

Adding to concerns of a global glut is U.S. production remains high despite steep cuts in drilling for new reserves as well as a jump in bankruptcies.

“The U.S. oil rig count dropped further this week, with a total 10 rigs idled,” Goldman Sachs said. “The current rig count implies U.S. production … would decrease by 705,000 barrels per day yoy (year-on-year) on average in 2016, and by 375,000 barrels per day yoy in 2017,” it added.

So far, U.S. production remains stubbornly high, at over 9 million barrels per day.

Despite a pick-up in recent economic data, including from India and China, analysts also poured cold water on hopes that Asia’s economic prospects were improving.

“Asia continues to face a structural growth problem – one that will not be cured in the space of a few, short months,” said HSBC’s Frederic Neumann.

Given a growing belief that prices might not recover by much any time soon, hedge funds have cut their net long positions in U.S. crude for the first time in six weeks.

The chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company said oil markets would only start to rebalance in 2016 and 2017.


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