Oil prices fall as OPEC output, US crude stockpiles rise

Posted June 15, 2017

With US oil and gas companies already stepping up activities in 2017, crude output climbed in May - the same month OPEC met to extend its production cuts - to a six-month high, since November 2016, according to OPEC's latest Monthly Oil Market Report.

Crude output from Opec nations rose by 290,000 bpd in May to a 2017 high of 32.08 million bpd, still within the confines of the supply deal, after comebacks in Libya and Nigeria, which are exempt from cuts.

Crude futures had shed more than 40 cents in the first few hours of trading Wednesday in Asia, in response to a build in USA crude and gasoline inventories reported by the American Petroleum Institute for the week ended June 9.

OPEC members made a decision to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day.

"It's not threatening any production, so the markets have yawned", he said.

But those efforts have been blunted by a massive boom in production by US shale operators, who have become much more efficient.

"The rebalancing of the market is under way, but at a slower pace, given the changes in fundamentals since December, especially the shift in United States supply from an expected contraction to positive growth", OPEC added.

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Last month, Iran exported about 1.1 million bpd to Europe including Turkey, nearly reaching pre-sanction levels and only slightly below the 1.2 million bpd supplied to Asia, the source said.

Energy sector shares tracked the slide in crude prices and weighed on the S&P 500, which had been trading higher earlier in the session. Iraq isn't fully complying with pledges to OPEC to curb production, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday. This has continues even after a move led by the OPEC to cut production.

According to IEA's June market report, total OECD oil stocks in April grew by more than the seasonal norm, and have risen so far this year by 350,000 bpd.

But the agency also trimmed its forecast for supply-demand deficit in the second half of this year from 700,000 bpd to 500,000 bpd, such has been the pace of growth in supply in the U.S., which has made up for most of the Opec/non-Opec cuts.

The news on the gasoline front also disappointed with inventories rising 1.794 million barrels, compared to expectations of a fall of 1.15 million barrels. Yet the group lowered expectations for non-member Russian Federation, which has been cooperating with Saudi Arabia on production, by 200,000 bpd, or about two-thirds of the original estimate.

"We think this effectively takes September off the table", said Ian Lyngen, head of USA rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets in NY, in reference to the impact of the data on the probability of a September Fed rate increase.