OIL PRICES DOWN TO $48
Oil prices slipped in Asian trade on Monday on a strong dollar and signs that global crude supply is holding up even as volumes hit by unplanned outages rise to at least five-year highs.
In a further indication of abundant supply, the number of rigs operated by U.S. drillers was steady last week for the first time this year.
Brent futures LCOc1 were down 18 cents at $48.54 a barrel as of 0421 GMT, after ending the previous session 9 cents down.
U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell 26 cents to $48.15 a barrel, having settled down 41 cents in the previous session.
The dollar index .DXY was marginally lower in early trade on Monday after gaining for a third straight week last week. A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.
That came as U.S. crude rose 3.3 percent last week, while Brent was up 1.7 percent, as unplanned supply outages rose to the highest since at least 2011 due to wildfires in Canada and losses in Nigeria, Libya and Venezuela.
But global oil supply has still outstripped demand by around 1.5 million barrels per day, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday.
"It's hard to trade with the current volatility in oil prices," said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney's Ayers Alliance.
"We've run up from $44 a barrel on economic growth and outages. Are we now at the top end? Does that mean at $49-$50 a barrel we'll get U.S. oil shale production starting up?" he said.
"With the U.S. rig count steady, people are waiting to see whether producers will start turning some production back on."
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs said it expected (shale) productivity gains through 2020, which will push average breakevens for shale plays below $50 per barrel for U.S. crude, the bank said in a research report on Monday.
It also raised its average Brent forecast to $45 per barrel this year, up from $39, while West Texas Intermediate would average $45 per barrel this year, up from $38 previously.
But greater U.S. and OPEC supply meant it lowered its forecasts for 2017, with an average of $55 per barrel for Brent, from $60 previously, and $53 per barrel for WTI, against $58 earlier.
Elsewhere, Iran plans to increase oil export capacity to 2.2 million barrels by the summer and has no plans to freeze its level of oil production and exports, its deputy oil minister was quoted as saying.
A meeting of the OPEC exporters' group, including Iran, is scheduled for June 2.
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AN - China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is willing to invest $3 billion in its existing oil and gas operation in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday following a meeting with the Chinese in Abuja.
REUTERS - Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oil field was expected to fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Saturday after two staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.
IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.