Oil prices skid amid global stock market slump, swelling US supply
06 December, 2018, 17:40
"A massive liquidation in long positions by money managers has dampened market confidence on oil prices considerably", said Benjamin Lu of Singaporean brokerage Phillip Futures.
On Thursday, Brent futures fell more than 2% as traders began to doubt Opec would deliver a significant cut.
Saudi Arabia has indicated it wants the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to cut output by at least 1.3 million barrels per day, or 1.3 percent of global production.
"I think a million (barrels a day) will be adequate personally", Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih said upon arriving to the meeting in Vienna. "How OPEC communicates this to the market may be just as important as what gets done".
Concern over an emerging supply glut has decimated oil prices - West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, fell more than 2 percent to $51.56 per barrel on Thursday - but President Trump has pushed for cheaper oil, urging other countries to refrain from output cuts.
Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday: "Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted".
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia produced a record 11.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in November, adding to the swelling glut.
Santhosh V. Perumal
Zangeneh said the estimated surplus now on the market amounted to 1.3 to 2.4 million barrels per day. Some experts say that gives the US some leverage over the Saudis, though Al-Falih denied that on Thursday.
"We don't need permission from anyone to cut", he said.
Brent Crude was trading at around $58.70 per barrel, a drop of 4.65 percent, while WTI was worth $50.44 per barrel, losing 4.63 percent.
Oil output from the world's biggest producers - OPEC, Russia and the United States - has increased by a 3.3 million bpd since the end of 2017, to 56.38 million bpd, meeting nearly 60 per cent of global consumption.
Saudi Arabia, Opec's de facto leader, has made clear that it won't shoulder the burden of trimming production alone.
The wait for Moscow signals how much Opec has changed since 2016 when Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation ended their historic animosity and started to manage the oil market together. Those differences persisted after Wednesday's meeting, OPEC delegates said.
The measure is aimed at controlling global oil prices that have seen a dramatic crash of more than 30 percent over the last two months, placing the budgets of oil-exporting nations under considerable pressure. One of the key questions in Thursday's talks is whether to exempt Iran from having to cut production, as its energy industry is already hobbled by US sanctions on its crude exports. While it said it was purely a practical decision because it mainly produces natural gas and little oil, the move was viewed as a symbolic snub to the Saudi-dominated organization.
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