Crude oil futures slip 0.42 pc on profit-booking

Dianna Christensen
February 21, 2018

The West Texas Intermediate for March delivery increased 0.34 USA dollar to settle at 61.68 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for April delivery added 0.51 dollar to close at 64.84 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Futures in NY climbed as much as 1.7 per cent, extending last week's 4.2 per cent advance.

Last week, major oil producer Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its alliance with OPEC and non-OPEC producers, including Russian Federation, in an attempt to reduce about 2 percent in inventories worldwide.

Oil headed toward its highest close in two weeks on investor optimism after Opec's secretary general said the market's journey toward equilibrium is gaining traction.

Saudi Arabia has been lobbying to keep prices high by instigating a production cut for both OPEC and non-OPEC partner countries.

The exuberance overshadowed steady and strong gains in US crude oil production, which has since helped drive the price of oil toward the $60 range.

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The American Petroleum Institute said last Tuesday that United States crude inventories rose by 3.9m barrels in the week to Feb 9, to 422.4m.

However, it also said that consensus forecasts among analysts indicated that concerns remain that rebounding prices will lead to USA shale producers ramping up supply.

Elsewhere, there are more indications of inflationary pressures building in the US economy. The preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment index for February came in at 99.9, up from the final January reading of 95.7.

Gold last Wednesday enjoyed its best trading day since June 24, 2016 when financial markets were shocked by Britain voting to leave the European Union. The more active April contract added 1.2 per cent to US$62.27. As a result, consensus forecasts now stand at $62 per barrel, it said, which is 13 percent higher than the $54.80 average price for Brent crude achieved in 2017, but which is lower than the current price.

Without elaborating on the strategy, he added that a draft framework might be endorsed and signed by all 24 countries before the end of the year.

Retail and institutional investment in gold-backed exchange traded funds (ETFs) continues to grow. Platinum was up 0.2pc at $998.74, after earlier hitting $1,002.40.

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