Oil prices sink as U.S. stock market slumps and dollar strengthens

WTI Crude Oil

The EIA also reported the biggest increase in crude oil stocks since March previous year, a rise of 6.8 million barrels. Some analysts say they believe stocks are far less than OPEC has declared.

The danger is that OPEC overshoots on tightening the market, which could exacerbate the backwardation in prices, prolong the rally in near-term prices, and ultimately erode demand.

"American crude oil is a game-changer in worldwide trade, global politics and domestic energy security", said Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, a trade group.

With the oil market much more precariously balanced than it was just six months ago, geopolitical events and supply outages are having a much more profound impact on the oil market. "The history shows sudden price rises are not helpful to oil exporters in the long run".

NYMEX crude for March delivery rose 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $64.87 a barrel by 0558 GMT, after ending the last session up 0.4 percent. Russian data showed strong compliance with output cuts in January, even as production hit 10.95 million bpd.

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Supporting the crude oil markets, the expanding global economy has increased demand for commodities and drawn down oil inventories. Supply remains below the kingdom's OPEC target.

"There is a case to be made that the market is even tighter than [supposed] if the portion of inventories with API above 40 degrees has increased in recent years and months", Hajji said. The UN Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in turn have confirmed that Iran complies with its obligations under the deal.

The investment bank said it believed the oil market was now more balanced after the United States shale rush of 2014-16 oversupplied the market and saw crude prices drop below $30 a barrel in January 2016. China, in particular, started buying up large volumes of US oil in 2017.

Investment bank UBS forecasts that supply growth will outpace demand growth in 2018, adding that "current prices, if sustained, could prompt a renewed inventory build-up". The meeting ended with signing an agreement to reduce oil production by a total of 558,000 barrels per day starting from January 2017. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $4.43 to April WTI.

The news also comes after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided past year to extend an agreement with several non-Opec members to curb output in response to a global supply glut fed in part by shale. The decline in Venezuelan production is also providing support.


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