Oil price rises towards $70 on reduced U.S. drilling activity

Oil price rises towards $70 on reduced U.S. drilling activity

Oil prices fell on Monday on expectations that USA output will rise this year, erasing earlier gains buoyed by lower weekly US rig counts and falling US unemployment. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 68 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to settle at US$61.36 per barrel.

Brent Sweet Crude was at $65.70 per barrel, up 21 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from their previous close.

Both WTI and Brent as recently as Thursday had marked their lowest settlements since mid-February.

That is more than top exporter Saudi Arabia producers and almost as much as Russian Federation pumps out, at nearly 11 million bpd.

"The big take away is the implied annual rate of change", James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics, told MarketWatch.

The US consumer price index comes out Tuesday.

Oil prices fell on Monday as investors grappled with ongoing concerns over rising United States output and tight Opec supply, while last week's data showing speculators cut bets on oil suggested more selling could be seen.

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Moreover, United could also beat City, Chelsea and Liverpool in the Champions League , though they have to get past Sevilla first. Even though Liverpool survived the first half onslaught and held on, the story of the second half was a complete opposite.

The rising USA output comes largely on the back of onshore shale oil production.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is breaking into two camps after more than a year of unity, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/opec-unity-is-spliting-over-differing-views-on-oil-prices-2018-03-12).

US production is expected to rise above 11 million bpd by late 2018, taking the top spot from Russian Federation, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). "But they may say we can't have these high prices and scale back the cuts". At stake is OPEC's production limits, which are among factors helping the oil market's monthslong recovery.

Energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday that energy companies last week cut oil rigs for the first time in nearly two months. It was the first such decline in seven weeks.

CNBC noted that hedge funds and money managers have pared their bullish wagers on WTI, with long positions falling last week for the first time in three weeks; meanwhile, gross short positions (bets that prices will fall) on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed to their highest level in almost a month.

Although crude's value has risen over 20% in the last six months, oil futures have been buffeted by a short-term bearish prognosis as US output has revved up and crude stocks have swelled to record highs.

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