Oil nudges at one-month lows as supply concerns mount

The agreement has helped raise oil prices to above $80 a barrel. Stock image Reuters

Brent crude reversed losses on Tuesday, after hitting its lowest price in almost a month following a report the USA government asked Saudi Arabia and other major exporters to increase oil output. A rally then lifted Brent to its upper limit until prices fell hard on indications Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation were considering raising supply. While oil is still in technical price trouble in the short term the correction should soon be over.

Brent crude oil futures slid for a second session on Monday as the market was weighed down by a climb in U.S. output to a record-high and expectations that Opec members will raise supplies.

Earlier on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the USA government had asked the producers to increase oil production by about 1 million barrels per day (bpd).

Benchmark Brent oil futures dropped as much as 1.5 percent to $74.16 a barrel in London trading after the USA request to Opec was reported. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were unchanged at 65.81 a barrel.

While US lawmakers have habitually criticized the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries at times of high oil prices, and the government has on occasion encouraged the cartel to pump more, it's unusual for Washington to ask for a specific output hike, the same people said, asking not to be named discussing private conversations.

In addition, investors fear that the OPEC + countries at a June meeting may decide to increase oil production amid a possible drop in supplies from Iran and Venezuela.

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"Even if the US has asked for 1 million, does it mean that OPEC and its allies would raise by 1 million?" an OPEC source said.

In order to deal with this situation, OPEC members will be meeting on June 22 to determine the crude oil output.

Opec ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Algeria along with their counterpart from nonOpec Oman, met unofficially in Kuwait on Saturday.

"(The output decision) is going to be the main event of the month and the main input for the second half of the year, so any change in OPEC policy is a big event", Petromatrix strategist Olivier Jakob said. This mainly led to rise in crude oil prices in futures trade here.

Recall, the International Monetary Fund forecasts growth in oil prices in 2018.

Industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) is scheduled to release its data for last week at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, and government figures are due at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

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