Oil Prices Tick Up, But Sentiment Remains Cautious

Oil jumps one percent on weaker dollar, but rise in US drilling drags

Oil settled higher Monday, after flipping between losses and gains, buoyed by forecasts for a weather-related weekly decline in USA crude supplies, despite ongoing pressure from expectations of further growth in US output.

Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil prices, gained 35 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to US$46.18 per barrel by 0715 GMT.

The rise in supplies threatens efforts by OPEC and its partners to reduce global oil inventories with production cuts.

Opec and other producers agreed to cut output by 1.8mbpd from January for six months, subsequently extended for a further nine months.

On Friday, Baker Hughes (BHI) reported a 23rd-weekly rise in the number of active USA oil rigs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-cut-gains-as-data-show-us-oil-rig-count-up-23-consecutive-weeks-2017-06-23), suggesting that domestic production is poised to climb. Iran was allowed a small increase to recover market share lost under Western sanctions. The increased production in the US and an increase in the numbers of operating rigs remains the biggest of concerns for the oil bulls.

Crude-oil futures carved out modest gains in Asia on Tuesday, but most investors are holding back bets until further drivers emerge.

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"The drawdown we'll expect is just right around 1 million barrels for crude oil, so data coming out of course is going to be quite bearish for oil going forward", he said.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed. "And a slight support from a weak USA dollar".

"The market is primed for a more aggressive response to really good inventory data", said Ric Spooner, an analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. The benchmark was still set to end the first half of the year down almost 20 percent.

Economic momentum could spur demand, which has emerged as a lead indicator for oil prices, with US figures on gasoline inventory levels offering a clue on consumer sentiment. Speculators cut their net-long position in United States benchmark futures to the lowest in 10 months last week, and in North Sea Brent to the lowest since January 2016, exchange data showed. The 11 oil rigs added in the week to June 23 has taken the total count to 758, which is a huge increase from the 330 active oil rigs in the comparable week previous year.

"Looking into the second half of 2017, we now doubt that demand growth will accelerate sufficiently", they wrote.

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