Oil down 1% on continued concerns over U.S. output


Brent sweet crude traded at $65.70 per barrel on Monday, an increase of 21 cents or 0.3 percent from its previous close.

Crude production from seven major USA shale plays is expected to see a climb of 131,000 barrels a day in April to 6.954 million barrels a day, according to a monthly report from the Energy Information Administration released Monday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-shale-oil-output-forecast-to-climb-by-131000-barrels-a-day-in-april-eia-2018-03-12). "In the shale plays, the expected April production will increase oil at the annual rate of 1.5 million" barrels a day.

Crude oil prices fell Monday ahead of closely watched USA inflation data that may set the stage for interest rate hikes.

Gene McGillian, director of market research at Tradition Energy, pointed out that "The market continues to flip back and forth on the idea that increased global demand and a production cut is going to support prices. but USA production, and North American production levels in general, is going to negate a lot of the impact of that". The news is not likely to change the outlook for rising USA production which is now up to 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd).

The rising US output comes largely on the back of onshore shale oil production.

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The dips came after crude prices had risen on Friday and earlier today.

On one side is Saudi Arabia, which wants oil prices at $70 a barrel or higher, and on the other is Iran, which wants them around $60.

Energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday that energy companies last week cut oil rigs for the first time in nearly two months.

CNBC noted that hedge funds and money managers have pared their bullish wagers on WTI, with long positions falling last week for the first time in three weeks; meanwhile, gross short positions (bets that prices will fall) on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed to their highest level in almost a month. "Rising production and inventory in the United States has been reducing fund sentiment since it peaked at the end of January", ING said in a note.

Although crude's value has risen over 20% in the last six months, oil futures have been buffeted by a short-term bearish prognosis as USA output has revved up and crude stocks have swelled to record highs.