Oil down 4 percent as rout runs to 12 days on supercharged selling
Oil’s slide accelerated on Tuesday, with US futures dropping to lows not seen in 11 months due to ongoing worries about weakening global demand, oversupply and sell offs across other asset classes, including equities, Reuters reports.
Oil prices were hit on Monday after US President Donald Trump put pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries not to cut supply to prop up the market. That came after reports that Saudi Arabia was considering a production cut at the December OPEC meeting, on increased alarm that supply has started to outpace consumption.
“Twelve days in a row is insane - but there are a lot of pieces putting pressure on the market,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.
He said emerging concerns about weak global demand, rising US production, and speculators rapidly bailing out of long positions were primary factors for the drop.
US crude futures CLc1 lost $2.64, or 4.3 percent, to hit $57.30 a barrel, lowest since December 2017, as of 12:18 a.m. EST (1718 GMT). Brent LCOc1 dropped $2.96, or 4.2 percent, to a low of $67.15 a barrel.
Both benchmarks have fallen more than 20 percent since peaking at four-year highs in early October.
The dollar .DXYalso put pressure on oil, hovering near 16-month highs, making crude more expensive for importers using other currencies.
In its monthly report, OPEC said world oil demand next year would rise by 1.29 million barrels per day, 70,000 bpd less than predicted last month and the fourth consecutive forecast cut. Output, however, rose by 127,000 bpd to 32.9 million bpd, OPEC said.
“OPEC lowered its demand forecast, and that gives them cover for cutting production,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday OPEC agreed there was a need to cut oil supply next year by around 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from October levels to prevent oversupply.
Even as the Saudis floated the possibility of a cut in production, the selling has not abated.
Mizuho’s Yawger noted that the potential pullback in Saudi output has in part already been made up by the sharp bump in US production, which reached 11.6 million bpd in the most recent week, a new record. In addition, Russia has given mixed signals about a cut, with Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov saying Monday he did not see cuts being necessary.
“They can’t make up their minds on a cutback or not,” said Yawger. “These strange bedfellows no longer seem like they’re in the same bed anymore.”
Trump on Monday said he hoped OPEC will not cut production, making it clear he wants oil prices to fall.
That led to a sharp price drop on Monday, which continued into Tuesday. As of 12:18 p.m. EST, more than 668 million US futures contracts had traded, far exceeding the full-day average of 583 million contracts.
The steep decline has occurred as speculators have pulled back on their heavy bets on oil. Hedge funds and other money managers have reduced their long position in oil contracts to their lowest since August of 2017 last week.