Oil trades below US$50 as market pessimism over OPEC deal lingers


Holidays in China, the United Kingdom and the US, mean trading is set to be thin throughout Monday's session.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.3% to $52.02 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange.

As a persistent increase in US drilling has undermined an OPEC-led push to tighten up the supply, prices of oil dipped on Monday. Brent fell almost 3 percent the previous week.

Opec's success in drawing down inventories may hinge on output in the USA, which is not participating in the cuts.

Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch called Monday's price moves little more than "intraday noise".

While the agreement essentially spelled out a continuation of the previous production cuts for another nine months, the lack of an option to continue cuts into 2018 is one of the concerns brought up by analysts assessing the deal.

Meanwhile, U.S. inventories dropped seven weeks in a row, though they still remain above the five-year average and production rose to the highest since August 2015.

Oil trades below US$50 as market pessimism over OPEC deal lingers

Much of OPEC's success will depend on output in the United States C-OUT-T-EIA, which is not participating in the cuts and where production has soared 10 percent since mid-2016 to over 9.3 million bpd, close to top producer levels Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

In this scenario, these experts feel that an acceleration of inventory draws in the third quarter should support oil prices, but still reduced their forecast for the barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil to end 2017 at $55, from the prior $60.

US drillers have added rigs for 19 straight weeks, bringing the total 722, the highest since April 2015 and the longest run of additions on record, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc (BHI.N).

The Post concludes that while the Saudis' earlier gambit to increase production and quash USA shale growth "was a risky, hard gamble, not for the feint of heart, and victory was far from assured, but today OPEC looks like it's playing to neither win nor lose".

Even if the rig count did not rise further, Goldman Sachs estimated US output would increase by 785,000 bpd between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the fourth quarter of 2017 across the Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Niobrara shale plays. Post-meeting, however, financial markets sold off oil after the production cut extension agreement largely due to the belief that not enough had been done to rid the market of the growing supply glut.

"It's going to be all about inventories and whether they fall as much as Opec thinks", AxiTrader chief market strategist Greg McKenna said.

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