OPEC Oil Cuts Overshoot

Oil is riding the longest winning streak since December on optimism Saudi Arabia will support an extension to Organisation of petroleum exporting countries-led output cuts just as U.S. stockpiles show signs of shrinking.

Brent crude futures settled down 37 cents to $55.86 a barrel after hitting a one-month high of $56.65.

OPEC is scheduled to publish the assessment of March output based on secondary sources in its monthly oil market report on Wednesday.

Though the bullish positions are way below the recent peak of 951 million barrels reported on February 21, the sentiment has certainly changed from bearish to bullish.

Traders focused on preliminary United States production estimates in the weekly EIA report that suggested domestic output is still climbing. Traders attributed the up-and-down action to the drawdown in inventories against another increase in US production, higher inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, oil hub, and traders exiting profitable trades after the last two weeks of price gains.

"We saw a bit of reversal in oil prices and it came despite some positive news", chief market strategist at Sydney's CMC Markets.

This is the first addition in six weeks, as the past five weeks had seen a drawdown of 309 million barrels between February 21 and March 28.

Scotiabank says the four key trends that will shape the oil market for the remainder of 2017 are OPEC output discipline; the pace of the USA shale response; non-OPEC production declines outside the continental US; and the strength of consistently-underestimated global demand growth.

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Oil prices pared gains on Wednesday after the report was released to trade at around $56 a barrel.

The market has been oversupplied for three years and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as some non-OPEC producers have agreed to slash output to rein in the glut.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell by 9 cents to $52.99 a barrel, after touching a five-week high of $53.23 a barrel.

The figures were seen by the media.

While compliance from some participants has been patchy, Saudi Arabia has made significant cuts, with production PRODN-SA down 4.5 since the end of past year, despite a slight increase in March to 9.98 million bpd.

"With the pick-up in drilling activity, as well as increasing cashflows in the tight oil industry, US tight crude output is expected to rise quickly and increase 335,000 bpd for the overall of 2017", OPEC said, using another term for shale.

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