Crude Oil Futures Settle Lower Again On Growth Concerns

Last week WTI topped $60 a barrel for the first time since Nov 9 2018. — AFP  File

Weekly figures on USA oil from the American Petroleum Institute (API) will be released on Tuesday, closely followed by figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

ANZ bank said the darkening economic outlook "overshadowed the supply-side issues" the oil market was facing amid supply cuts led by producer club OPEC as well as the USA sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.

Ongoing supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies such as Russian Federation, known as OPEC+, also supported prices.

Expectations of a further drop in US inventories also supported prices, suggesting the OPEC-led curbs were helping to avert a buildup of excess supplies.

As the number of oil rigs fell for a fifth straight week, although last week's count was down by just 1, the rig count reached the lowest level since April 2018.

Both crude oil price benchmarks have slumped by nearly 3 percent since last week hitting their highest since November 2018.

Crude oil futures fell by 0.22 per cent to Rs 4,066 per barrel Monday as speculators reduced positions amid a weakening trend overseas.

Oil extended losses in NY, with West Texas Intermediate futures dropping 1.7 per cent to US$58.40 a barrel as of 8:41 a.m. local time.

Offering support for prices, oil output from Russia, OPEC's biggest non-member ally, averaged 11.3 million barrels per day so far in March, a source said, compared with 11.34 million barrels a day the previous month.

Both the crude oil benchmarks plunged by over 3% in the last week hitting their highest since a year ago November.

In the week ended March 15, USA crude stockpiles dropped by 9.6 million barrels, the largest decline since July, boosted by strong export and refining demand.

Wednesday's weakness suggests growing fears over the impact of a global economic slowdown on demand.

Government data is showing that hedge funds and other money managers have increased bets that demand for oil will be sustained.

Any progress in the U.S.

Data from the US Energy Information Administration showing a surprise rise in US crude inventories last week also weighed on prices on Thursday.

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