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Worry Over Rising US Output Causes Crude to Drop 1.1 Percent

13 March 2018

Despite the lower rig count, which is an early indicator of future output, activity remains much higher than a year ago when, when just 617 rigs were active, and most analysts expect United States crude oil production, which has already risen by over a fifth since mid-2016, to 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), to rise further. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 27 cents to $61.77 a barrel.

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

The most significant price action this week is likely to take place after the release of the American Petroleum Institute's weekly inventories report on Tuesday and Wednesday's U.S. Energy Information Administration report.

Crude oil prices fell Monday ahead of closely watched U.S. inflation data that may set the stage for interest rate hikes.

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"From a fundamental standpoint, that is a material concern as the US oil industry alone could push the global market back into a surplus, which was the reason behind the 2014-2015 bear market in oil", he said in a daily newsletter.

"The strong shale oil revival is starting to get more attention", said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets.

Investors will then be anticipating OPEC's next move as concerns about USA production will likely dominate the oil cartel's June meeting in Vienna.

On one side is Saudi Arabia, which wants oil prices at $70 a barrel or higher, and on the other is Iran, which wants them around $60.

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On Friday, Baker Hughes (BHGE) said that the number of active USA rigs drilling for oil (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/baker-hughes-reports-first-fall-in-us-oil-rig-count-in-7-weeks-2018-03-09) fell by four to 796 this week. Helping the dip, hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish wagers on USA crude oil for the first time in three weeks, data showed on Friday.

Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock-the benchmark gasoline contract-fell 0.6% to $1.89 a gallon.

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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Worry Over Rising US Output Causes Crude to Drop 1.1 Percent