Prices Stabilizing on Hopes of OPEC-led Production Cuts

A couple of months are too long a period in the crude world. Things change rapidly. — File

Brent has lost about 28 percent in the same period.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures ended the session down US$3.77, or 6.6 per cent, at US$53.43 per barrel. Consequently, WTI and Brent crude have dropped 30% and 27% respectively from the peak seen on October 3rd.

"For the time being it's more about risk", said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates. That said, given the drop in oil prices, it would be hard for Russian Federation to not take part in the expected OPEC led oil production cuts at the Bi-Annual OPEC meeting on December 6th, despite stating that they would take a wait-and-see-approach.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said yesterday: 'Fears of slowing global growth are fuelling concerns over global demand, just at a time when Saudi Arabia, Russia and the U.S. continue to ramp up production'.

"The list of reasons for the decline are pretty specific. too much supply and a risk of slowing demand growth", said James Mick, Energy Portfolio Manager with USA investment firm Tortoise.

The S&P energy sector (XLE -2.6%) supplants tech as the stock market's worst performer, as USA crude oil futures sink to fresh one-year lows, falling alongside stocks as investors dump risk assets; WTI -5% at $54.35/bbl, Brent -5.1% at $63.38/bbl. Citing unnamed sources, the report also said the South Koreans are negotiating 2019 supply contracts with Tehran.

"I never really understood the premium behind some kind of friction between US and Saudi Arabia from a policy standpoint".

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Despite today's sharp downward trend, some analysts think that prices are set to regain ground over the next month, based on the trends from past such oil price slumps.

Meanwhile, the United States was considering adding Venezuela, one of its biggest crude suppliers, to Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism but no final decision has been made, a person familiar with the deliberations said late on Monday.

Brent crude has run into resistance at the 38.2% Fibonacci Retracement level (rise from 2016 low to 2018 high), which keeps the bearish momentum intact.

Expectations for a ninth straight week of USA crude inventory increases also weighed on prices.

According to recent data, U.S.is producing a record 11 million barrels of crude per day, up 18% since the start of this year.

With output surging and the demand outlook deteriorating, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is pushing for a supply cut of between 1 million and 1.4 million bpd in a bid to prevent a repeat of the 2014 glut, when a production overhang resulted in a price crash. With OPEC and its allies scheduled to meet in Vienna early December to discuss output plans, the International Energy Agency warned this week that cutting supplies may have some negative implications.

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

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