Crude oil futures were marginally lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Friday awaiting fresh price cues after an overnight slump of more than $1/b on oversupply concerns. At 10:55 am Singapore time (0255 GMT), ICE January Brent crude futures were down 5 cents/b (0.07%) from Thursday’s settle at $70.60/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract was down 20 cents/b (0.33%) at $60.47/b.
Prices remained marginally lower ahead of OPEC’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Abu Dhabi Sunday and the release of weekly US oil rig data later Friday, analysts said. They attributed the declines overnight to a bearish Energy Information Administration report showing US crude commercial stocks rising for the seventh straight week November 2, by 5.78 million barrels, and concerns over US sanctions on Iranian supply easing. Talk of OPEC and its allies possibly deciding to reduce production in light of the recent price slump was growing stronger, analysts said.
Saudi Arabia and Russia, which have both boosted production in recent months, were fueling the recent price slump and “should cut at least 1 million b/d instantly,” one OPEC delegate told S&P Global Platts on Wednesday. “In view of the latest price slump and the oversupply that looks set to materialize next year, OPEC is thinking about cutting back oil production,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note.
Russian oil companies are willing to continue cooperation on output with other countries within the OPEC/non-OPEC production agreement, but have yet to discuss an output cut or concrete volumes, officials said following a meeting with energy minister Alexander Novak Thursday.