Oil prices edge down amid worries Saudi Arabia, Russia to boost output

Oil prices edge down amid worries Saudi Arabia, Russia to boost output

SINGAPORE: Oil prices inched down on Wednesday amid concerns that Saudi Arabia and Russia will pump more crude in the second half of the year in response to falling global crude inventories and rising consumer prices.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have discussed raising OPEC and non-OPEC oil production by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to counter potential supply shortfalls from Venezuela and Iran.

Brent crude was down 45 cent, or 0.6 percent, at $74.94 a barrel at 0325 GMT, after settling up 9 cents on Tuesday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was down 24 cents, or 0.34 percent, at $66.49 a barrel. It had settled down $1.15.

“OPEC has over-delivered on supply cuts in the past six months,” Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity market strategy at French bank BNP Paribas, said in a note to clients.

“There is … scope for an increase in OPEC output.”

OPEC-led supply curbs have largely cleared an inventory surplus in industrialized countries, and stocks continue to decline. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is due to meet in Vienna on June 22.

Credit Suisse analysts on Tuesday said even if Russia and OPEC producers raise output, they would likely only add an additional 500,000 bpd, which would leave inventories in the most developed countries short of the five-year average by the end of 2018.

Falling share prices and a stronger US dollar index also weighed on oil prices. US stock markets sank more than 1 percent, while the dollar wobbled at a 10-month high against the euro. A stronger dollar makes greenback-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

US oil got some support as US crude inventories likely fell by 1.8 million barrels last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

Industry group American Petroleum Institute releases its weekly oil data at 2030 GMT, followed by the report by US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration on Thursday, both delayed a day because of the federal Memorial Day holiday on Monday.

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