Oil prices under pressure ahead of US data

LONDON, January 17, 2018 – Crude oil prices remained under pressure on Wednesday, although they were still hovering within close distance of recent multi-year highs, as investors remained cautious ahead of the weekly U.S. supply report due on Thursday.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude February contract was down 15 cents or about 0.27% at $63.56 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), close to the previous session’s three-year peak of $64.89.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London lost 21 cents or about 0.30% to $68.93 a barrel, not far from Monday’s three-year peak of $70.37.

The American Petroleum Institute was set to release its weekly report at 4:30 p.m. ET (21:30 GMT). Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Thursday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of around 3.6 million barrels, which would mark the ninth-straight fall.

 

The reports come out one day later than usual due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday on Monday.

Oil prices slipped at the beginning of the week as the market contended with rising U.S. drilling activity against ongoing efforts by major producers to cut output to reduce a global glut.

Analysts and traders have recently warned that U.S. shale oil producers could ramp up production in the coming weeks as they look to take advantage of higher prices, potentially derailing an OPEC-led effort to curb excess supply.

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.

Market participants are also looking ahead to monthly reports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties and the International Energy Agency due later this week to assess global oil supply and demand levels.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures climbed 0.52% to $1.852 a gallon, while natural gas futures advanced 1.21% to $3.167 per million British thermal units.

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