U.S. futures prices ended last week at their lowest finish since April on the back of rising production and the possibility that OPEC and its allies may decide to boost output, but the price of the global marker crude, Brent, edged higher.
Demand for the motor fuel over the past four weeks rose 0.8 percent year-on-year ahead of the Memorial day weekend which marks the official start to the summer driving season in the United States.
WTI's discount to Brent widened to as much as $11.57 a barrel, largest since 2015, before narrowing to $10.76 a barrel as both grades retreated. On Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report a 1 million barrel increase in crude stockpiles, double the gain forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.
Russian Federation and the OPEC leader Saudi Arabia have signalled there could be a need to gradually boost oil production to prevent any supply shortages.
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On the other hand, an escalating trade dispute may see China's state-owned refiners take less USA crude, and so far, it's far from certain which is the more likely of those two outcomes.
Production in Texas rose by 4% to nearly 4.2 million bpd, a record high based on the data going back to 2005. "Going back above $80 is going to be hard".
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell US$1.23 (RM6.76) a barrel to settle at US$65.81 a barrel.
Quotes of WTI oil futures for July on Thursday morning decreased by $0,04 (0,06%) to $68,17 a barrel.
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According to statistics from the newly-released OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report, MOMR, for May released on Monday, Bonny Light climbed from $67.05 in March to $72.75 in April, making it an 8.5 percent increase in price.
Concerns about US bottlenecks are contributing to the decline in USA futures as well.
"If there is a more aggressive demeanor with conversation as far as how they may unwind the current agreement", you may see investors "get a little bit more skittish just because you have more oil coming onto the market at the same time that the U.S. has ramped up production", said Mark Watkins, who helps oversee $151 billion at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. At the auction the previous day the price has increased by $2.11 / share (2.8 percent), and accounted for at closing of $77.5 per barrel.
While physical WTI crude is now at a strong premium to the futures, the opposite is the case when comparing paper Brent crude to the prices of similar physical grades.
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Concerns about growing US crude production and a glut trapped inland due to a lack of pipeline capacity have pressured prices of WTI, doubling its discount to Brent over the course of a month.