Oil down on US data

LONDON, February 15, 2018 – Crude oil prices turned lower on Thursday, as concerns surrounding rising U.S. output levels overshadowed optimism sparked by global efforts to limit production.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude March contract was down 44 cents or about 0.71% at $60.17 a barrel by 09:45 a.m. ET (13:45 GMT), off a one-week high of $61.55 hit earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London lost 68 cents or about 1.07% to $63.67 a barrel, also pulling away from an earlier one-week peak of $65.15.

Prices were initially boosted after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said his country will be “sticking” with its policy to withhold production throughout 2018.

 

Saudi Arabia, the de-facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

However, fears that rising U.S. output could dampen OPEC’s efforts to rid the market of excess supplies resurfaced, sending prices lower.

The Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that U.S. inventories rose by 1.841 million barrels in the week ended February 9, below expectations for a rise of 2.825 million barrels.

The report also showed that U.S. crude oil production rose to a fresh record of 10.27 million barrels per day (bpd), more than top exporter Saudi Arabia and not far from the biggest world producer, Russia.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures rose 0.23% to $1.723 a gallon, while natural gas futures declined 0.85% to $2.563 per million British thermal units.

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