Oil Prices Slip

Oil Prices SlipOil Prices Slip

Oil slipped on Friday, pressured by growing global stocks, while expectations that an oil output cut by producers might eventually balance the market helped to underpin prices.

Brent crude futures were trading at $55.33 per barrel, 32 cents below their last close. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 28 cents at $53.08 per barrel, Reuters reported. Both appeared on track for losses on the week, though prices had moved higher earlier in the session in response to news that OPEC could extend an output cut aimed at reining in a global supply overhang.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, plan to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day during the first half of 2017, and estimates suggest compliance by OPEC is around 90%.

The cuts are aimed at curbing oversupply that has dogged markets since 2014. But inventories and supplies remain high, especially in the United States.

"You've got bullishness from the OPEC cuts, but the bearishness of the inventory report," Hamza Khan, head of commodities strategy at ING, said. "The question is, which of these is going to give first?"

Brent and WTI have traded within a $5 per barrel price range this year, in what has become the longest and most range-bound period since a price slump began in mid-2014.

There are also signs of faltering demand growth in core markets China, India and the United States.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints