Oil ends lower as rising United States rig count, G-20 statement unnerves

With Oil Slumping Energy ETFs Begin to Sag Too

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at brokerage AxiTrader, said the fall in crude oil prices could be attributed to "the cracks in the Opec/non-Opec deal" with USA shale oil back as the new swing player in production.

"With the Baker Hughes rig count rising for a ninth straight week, investors will be hoping that Opec this week will reiterate commitment to production cuts, perhaps going so far as to begin talking up chances of further cuts in June".

"An extension is needed to balance the market", an OPEC delegate said. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading 71 cents lower at $48.07 a barrel.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) was more conservative, expecting an average of price of US$45 a barrel.

With Baker Hughes data still a factor in trading, the price for Brent crude oil was down 1.3 percent from Friday's close to $51.09 per barrel about a half hour before the start of trading in NY. Oil demand will also continue to rise this year and in the next few years, he said.

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The oil markets began the week on the back foot, with prices falling amid rising drilling activity in the United States as production from Opec countries remained steady.

"We are maintaining our this year's average Brent crude price at US$50 a barrel as we see more uncertainty with crude oil prices towards the downside bias", said an analyst at MIDF Research. Saudi Arabia has reduced its output by 300,000 barrels per day more than its promised cuts; hence, the kingdom had the moral right to be indignant that other countries are not picking up the slack. OPEC's next meeting is billed to hold on May 25 in Vienna, Austria and analysts are already speculating on the possibility that OPEC will deepen its cuts above 1.2 million barrels or extend the cuts beyond six months.

Falih notes that OPEC is committed to cutting supply as much as necessary until there's an uptrend in oil prices. The nation's crude output has climbed to 9.1 million barrels a day, the most since February previous year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

On March 17, 2017, the CFTC (U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission) released its weekly Commitments of Traders report.

Beyond OPEC, oil production rose 90,000 bpd in February, as increasing US output offset declines elsewhere.

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