Oil prices fall over uncertainty on Opec output

Dianna Christensen
December 1, 2017

Crude inventories fell 3.4 million barrels in the week to November 24, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a decrease of 2.3 million barrels.

This was the largest weekly draw at Cushing since September 2009, and analysts attributed the decline to the shutdown of the Keystone crude pipeline on November 16 after a leak of 5,000 barrels of oil in South Dakota. The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-fall-as-sources-say-api-data-show-a-weekly-rise-in-us-crude-supplies-2017-11-28) had reported an increase of 1.8 million barrels, according to sources.

Brent crude futures, on delivery contract for January 2018, dropped 1.16%, or 74 cents, to $62.87 a barrel at 1:24 p.m. EST.

Gasoline stockpiles were up 3.6 million barrels for the week, while distillate stockpiles added 2.7 million barrels, according to the EIA.

Most of the adjustments came from the long side of the market, where portfolio managers reduced the number of long positions in Brent, WTI and gasoline in a sign of profit-taking after a strong price rally.

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The oil for delivery in February traded lower by Rs 2.30, or 0.39 per cent, to Rs 586 per 10 kg in 221 lots.

Meanwhile, uncertainties about an extension to OPEC-led (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) production cuts also weighed on the market, as members debate the path for an extension of the group's supply-cut agreement.

That had been expected, but there was some concern headed into OPEC's decision, expected Thursday, that the agreement might not be extended that long. That was a bit bigger than the forecast for a decline of 3 million barrels from analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts.

January natural gas rose 1.6% to settle at $3.179 per million British thermal units, up sharply for a third-straight session on the back of weather-related expectations for higher demand.

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