WTI, Brent crude oil futures settle higher

Posted March 21, 2017

In the meantime, Iran has the right to boost oil output by just 90,000 bpd under the terms of the deal to curb excessive production by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a number of major crude oil producers outside the cartel, including Russian Federation.

At 10.30am GMT on Monday (20 March), prices for West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.56% to $48.03 a barrel, while the cost of a barrel of Brent crude slipped 1.21% to $51.14. West Texas Intermediate, a US petroleum price indicator, slipped to $48.22 per barrel Monday, ending what appeared to be the start of a recovery from a drop to below $48 from over $53 earlier in the month. US drillers added 14 oil rigs during the past week, bringing the total to 631 barrels, the highest number since September 2015.

Concerns that the OPEC production cut was failing to reduce the global supply overhang kept a lid on the market. Higher crude oil (FXN) (IXC) (USL) prices have a positive impact on oil producers' earnings such as Occidental Petroleum (OXY), Whiting Petroleum (WLL), Cobalt International Energy (CIE), and Continental Resources (CLR). Meanwhile, US crude oil prices had risen ~8.3% in the last 12 months. This was not the highest level, but it was close: fund managers at that point had trimmed down their net position by a total of 16 million barrels from the previous week, and by a net 77 million barrels since the high point of 951 million from February 21 of this year.

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"Sentiment remains bearish towards oil and the fading optimism over the effectiveness of [the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries'] supply cut deal could encourage sellers to attack prices further", he said.

"The combination of falling imports and stronger crude runs should lead to substantial inventory cuts over the coming months", they said.