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06 May 2017, 02:17 | Maryann Sutton
CRUDE CONCERNS: U.S. benchmark crude oil futures fell briefly below the key $45 level before stabilizing.
West Texas Intermediate for June delivery dropped as much as 3.9 percent to $43.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Stockpiles still stand at a near-record 527.8 million barrels and well above the five-year range.
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The demand for petroleum products is growing strongly and oil marketing and refining products also benefit from lower global prices, he said.
Russian Federation thinks it will be necessary to extend its agreement to cut oil output in conjunction with Opec beyond June, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an emailed statement on Thursday. "We are now holding final negotiations on this subject with our partners and are leaning toward the expediency of an extension", he said.
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"Such fluctuations will not affect either average annual or even average monthly values, because these are just speculative games".
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The rising production in the United States and the failure of the OPEC deal to reduce inventories prompted hedge funds and money managers to cut their long position in WTI and pushed the oil price to the lowest point since the OPEC deal.
Closing prices, below US$50 a barrel, were the lowest since Nov 29, thereby erasing all the market gains that followed a late 2016 announcement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries it would cut output.
Such volatility, in his estimation, will not have a decisive influence on the OPEC deal. Crude prices spiked and many predicted a speedy return to $60-plus prices as excess supply would finally be drained.
While not on the official agenda at the bi-annual Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur from Sunday to Tuesday, the attendance of top oil executives and policy makers including Saudi Arabian energy minister Khalid Al-Falih, ensures the production cut will be a major talking point. The external sector will continue to be strong due to a narrower trade and current account deficits, said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings. If both of those events turn out to be positive, we will see the oil price very quickly return to $50 odd barrel to $51 barrel level. If the agreement is extended, there is hope that prices may increase to at least $55 per barrel. The backwardation was at 11 cents per barrel then.
It is growing more hard by the day to make the case that oil prices will post strong gains this year. A good prerequisite is the unity of the countries parties to the agreement.
"Now it seems as though that extension will have to move into 2018 as well", said Vincent Piazza, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
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