Oil down on output concerns

LONDON, May 25, 2018 – Oil prices were lower on Friday amid increased output concerns from Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., slumped 1.32% to $77.75 a barrel as of 4:33 AM ET (8:33 GMT). Meanwhile crude oil futures decreased 0.88% to $70.09 a barrel.

Oil prices have jumped over 70% in the last year due to a rise in demand and restricted supply by OPEC.

But OPEC and Russia could raise oil output as soon as June after the White House raised concerns that oil prices were too high, leading to a slump in prices this week.

 

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said Thursday that restrictions on oil production could be eased “softly” if OPEC and non-OPEC countries see the oil market balancing in June.

OPEC has been cutting crude output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to prop up oil prices. The pact began in January 2017 and is set to expire at the end of 2018. The organization is set to meet in Vienna on June 22.

Meanwhile, increased production in the U.S. has also lowered prices, with U.S. oil inventories rising by 5.8 million barrels in the week to May 18 to 438.1 million barrels.

Prices were also held back by geopolitical concerns, including impeding U.S. sanctions against Iran, which produces 4% of global oil supplies. Elsewhere, U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled a planned summit with North Korea, increasing tensions in the region.

In other energy trading, Gasoline RBOB Futures decreased 0.90% at $2.2135 a gallon, while heating oil fell 1.04% to $2.2432 a gallon. Natural gas futures inched down 0.03% to $2.939 per million British thermal units.

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