From the Field
Oil prices fall after best weekly gains in a month
LONDON, March 18, 2019 – Oil prices fell on Monday in Asia after recording their best weekly gains in a month last week.
US Crude Oil WTI Futures traded 0.4% down to $58.59. Last week, the US benchmark climbed 4.3%, its best weekly gain in about a month. International Brent Oil Futures were down 0.2% to $67.00 on Monday after recording a gain of approximately 2.1% last week.
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid A. Al-Falih said on Sunday that he was optimistic about continued commitment to the oil supply cut agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC members.
“I am obviously optimistic that implementation of our OPEC+ agreement will improve, it’s already strong by historical standards,” Khalid al-Falih said.
OPEC and some non-affiliated producers, known as ‘OPEC+’, agreed late last year to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to remove a supply glut and prop up prices.
OPEC+ ministers will next meet on April 17-18 to decide on production policy.
Meanwhile, fresh data on U.S. commercial crude inventories and production activity will also capture the market’s attention this week.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that US crude supplies unexpectedly fell by 3.9 million barrels for the week ended March 8. The EIA also reported that total domestic crude production inched down from record territory, down 100,000 barrels to 12 million barrels a day.
Data on Friday from energy services firm Baker Hughes showed that the number of active rigs drilling for oil in the US fell for a fourth straight week, though it was down by just one to 833.
Despite today’s loss, oil prices have gained around a quarter since the start of the year amid US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, which just had the worst blackout on record that left the country without power for days and exports from the country’s main oil terminal stranded.