India Markets open in 3 hrs 33 mins

Oil hits 2018 lows on emerging supply glut; Saudi Arabia pushes OPEC to cut sale to prevent surplus

Reuters
Despite the firmer prices, crude oil has lost almost a third in value since early October because of an emerging supply glut following a global surge in production.

Singapore: Oil prices slumped to 2018 lows on Friday in thin but volatile trading, pulled down by concerns of an emerging global supply overhang amid a bleak economic outlook.

Even an expectation that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) producer group will start withholding supply in 2019 to rein in any glut provided little support, traders said.

International benchmark Brent crude oil futures hit their lowest since December 2017 at $61.52 per barrel, before recovering to $62.10 by 0430 GMT. That was still 50 cents, or 0.8 percent below their last close.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slumped by more than 2 percent, to $53.35 a barrel, after coming within 5 cents of an October 2017 low reached earlier in the week.

Amid the plunge, Brent and WTI price volatility has surged in November to approach levels not seen since the market slump of 2014-2016 and, before that, the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

The divergence between US and international crude comes as surging North American supply is clogging the system and depressing prices there, while global markets are somewhat tighter €" in part because of reduced exports from Iran due to newly imposed US sanctions.

Overall, however, global oil supply has surged this year, with the top-three producers of the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia pumping out more than a third of global consumption, which stands at around 100 million barrels per day (bpd).

High production comes as the demand outlook weakens on the back of a global economic slowdown.

Oil prices have plunged by around 30 percent since their last peaks in early October, as global production started to exceed consumption in the fourth quarter of this year, ending a period of undersupply that started in the first quarter of 2017, according to data in Refinitiv Eikon.

Adjusting to lower demand, top crude exporter Saudi Arabia said on Thursday that it may reduce supply.

"We will not sell oil that customers don't need," Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters.

Saudi Arabia is pushing OPEC to cut oil supply by as much as 1.4 million bpd to prevent a supply glut.

The group officially meets on Dec. 6 to discuss its supply policy.

US bank Morgan Stanley said it saw "a far greater probability that OPEC reaches an agreement to balance the market in 2019" than not, adding that this would likely support oil prices "in the high-$50s, at least near term."

Also See: Rupee falls below 73 level on increased demand for US dollar from importers

Rupee jumps 50 paise to close at 72.50 against dollar on easing crude prices

Sensex falls 300 points to close at 35,474, snaps three-day rally on global selloff; Nifty down 107 points

Read more on Business by Firstpost.