OIL PRICE: NOT ABOVE $64 YET
A statement by Kuwait's oil minister that OPEC and other oil producers will study before June next year the possibility of exiting their global oil supply-cut agreement also weighed on prices, traders said.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $57.14 a barrel at 0418 GMT, down 22 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last settlement.
Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, were down 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $63.15 a barrel.
"The largest concern for investors currently remains the rise in the U.S. rig count, which could potentially jeopardize the OPEC and Russian agreement when they meet for a review in June 2018," said Shane Chanel, equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers.
The number of rigs drilling for new oil output in the United States rose by two in the week to Dec.8, to 751, the highest level since September, General Electric Co's (GE.N) Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.
A higher rig count points to a further rise in U.S. crude production C-OUT-T-EIA, which is already up by more than 15 percent since mid-2016 to 9.71 million barrels per day (bpd).
That's the highest level since the early 1970s, and close to levels from top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Rising U.S. output threatens to undermine efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-OPEC producers, including Russia, to support prices by withholding supplies.
OPEC and its allies started withholding supplies last January and currently plan to continue doing so throughout 2018.
Kuwait's oil minister Essam al-Marzouq said on Sunday, however, OPEC and other oil producers will study before June possibly ending the global oil supply cuts earlier.
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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.