Oil Steady Around Multi-Year Lows

Oil Steady Around Multi-Year LowsOil Steady Around Multi-Year Lows

Oil prices steadied around 11-1/2-year lows, after rising earlier during the day following Chinese shares higher, as persistent global oversupply and a bleak demand outlook weighed on prices.

Oil prices plunged to 12-year lows on Thursday after leading energy consumer China allowed its yuan currency to slip, sending stock markets tumbling globally, Reuters reported.

Brent rose 9 cents to $33.84 a barrel, near a low of $34.18 reached in July 2004. US West Texas Intermediate was flat at $33.27 a barrel.

Over the past year, the world has been producing 1.5 million barrels per day more oil than it consumes. OPEC and the International Energy Agency expect global demand growth to slow in 2016 to around 1.20-1.25 million barrels per day from a very high 1.8 million bpd in 2015.

The US Energy Information Administration said last month that production in 2016 would fall by 570,000 barrels per day to 8.76 million bpd, an upward revision from its 520,000 bpd forecast in November.

The options market is showing there are concerns oil prices can fall further. Some investors are protecting themselves by acquiring put options, giving them the right to sell at $25 a barrel, anticipating that Brent will fall below that.

Oil bull Andy Hall's Astenbeck Capital Management lost about 35% in 2015, CNBC reported on Thursday, citing a source who reviewed the fund's performance.

OPEC's smallest member Ecuador, which has increased debt and reduced investments due to the oil price plunge, said it would continue to press for production cuts when the organization meets next on June 2 in Vienna.