Oil downside risk at four-year high on OPEC inaction fears

Posted November 21, 2018

Oil tumbled below $53 a barrel for the first time in a year amid concern OPEC's plans to cut production won't be enough to stem a surge in stockpiles.

"We are entering an unprecedented period of uncertainty in oil markets", IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said on Tuesday.

And sellers are not holding their breath - WTI is down nearly 6% today to its lowest since Nov 2017...

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures, were up 70 cents, or 1.3 per cent, at US$54.13 a barrel. This is reality. Production is rising, led by increasing output from the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia, which now accounts for about a third of US daily consumption.

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In the week ending November 13, hedge fund managers cut their net long position-the difference between bullish and bearish bets-in WTI Crude to the lowest since August 2017 and cut their net long position in Brent Crude to the lowest in a year and a half, according to data from exchanges and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) compiled by Bloomberg.

Russia's energy minister Alexaner Novak has reportedly remarked that the oil market alliance will monitor supply and demand in the coming weeks before deciding on production levels. Analysts polled ahead of weekly data forecast crude stocks rose about 2.9 million barrels last week.

In turn, the price of oil WTI for January delivery in electronic trading on the NY Mercantile exchange (NYMEX) fell $0.29 to (0,51%) - to $from 56.91 per barrel.

Oil prices fell about 4 percent on Tuesday, with US crude plunging to its lowest in over a year, caught up in Wall Street's broader selloff fed by growing concerns about slowing global growth.

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This is as much to grab the Asia market space vacated by lower Iranian supplies as to influence a higher drawdown from the U.S. strategic reserves and bolster market sentiment - and prices. "W$3 e believe oil is oversold and will likely bounce up from the current levels, as OPEC+ dials back production in December", Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note on Wednesday.

US crude prices have now dropped as much as 31 percent from a four-year high last month. The wait-and-see approach contrasts with Saudi Arabia's call for cuts, just weeks before a key summit in Vienna.

"I think there is a corner of the market that says, 'Well wait a second, is Saudi Arabia really going to go forward with removing so many barrels in a situation where President Trump remains a stalwart ally of the Saudi government?" she told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday.

On Monday, Japan's Ministry of Finance reported that October crude oil imports fell by 7.7 percent from the same month previous year, to 2.77 million barrels per day (bpd).

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