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30 November 2018, 10:13 | Kelvin Horton
A seemingly relentless rise in US crude supply, together with Saudi Arabia's insistence that it will not cut output on its own to stabilise the market, earlier sent Brent crude to another 2018 low below $58 a barrel.
The West Texas Intermediate futures dropped by 2.5% in trading in NY after the report by the US Energy Information Administration that revealed that American oil supplies had gone up for the 10th week in a row. With fears of a scarcity now giving way to worries about oversupply, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies such as Russian Federation are preparing to discuss more cuts when they meet next week in Vienna.
For almost a month-since an OPEC/non-OPEC panel signaled that there might be a need to cut oil production by 1 million bpd to balance the market-Russia has warned against any hasty decisions on new production cuts and has not officially said that a cut is needed. Wise stated that that would depend on the severity of cuts adopted by OPEC and its allies.
West Texas Intermediate for January delivery fell as low as $49.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the least since October 9, 2017. The WTI's 14-day Relative Strength Index is still in oversold territory.
Global benchmark Brent crude gained 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $58.82 a barrel, having dropped 2.4 percent on Wednesday to $58.76 a barrel.
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih on Wednesday said that the recent slump in oil prices has shown that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its non-OPEC allies must take a collective decision to balance the global oil markets. However, the Saudi Arabian minister was less confident than previously, and he did not specify an actual cut in oil production.
Speaking in Moscow, Putin said Russian Federation was in touch with OPEC but Moscow would be satisfied with oil at $60 a barrel.
When the Saudi crown prince - as is expected - asks Putin to cut down output in a bid to drive up oil prices, some speculate Russian Federation could have the upper hand in the negotiations.
"WTI oil is now trading right around the $50 per barrel level, a price last seen well over a year ago, as the current oversupply situation has now manifested itself in 10 consecutive weekly increases in United States oil inventories", said William O'Loughlin, Investment Analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.
Futures tumbled as much as 1.8% in NY, after sliding 2.6% in the previous two sessions.
US crude inventories for the week to November 23 added 3.6 million barrels to the most in a year at 450 million barrels, exceeding expectations, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. That's more than the 1-million-barrel gain predicted in a Bloomberg survey, overshadowing a surprise draw in gasoline inventories.
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