Oil falls for third day as higher inventories, dollar weigh

Robyn Valdez
March 4, 2018

USA crude is on track for a 4 per cent drop this week, its first weekly decline in three, having given up much of the gains in recent weeks when sentiment was boosted by a fall in stocks at the Cushing delivery point for WTI.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery () was up 8 cents at $61.72 a barrel by 0403 GMT after settling down 2.2 percent in the previous session.

Brent crude settled at $66.63 a barrel, an 87 cent drop from Monday. "We are being driven by the pick up in USA inventories and in general terms the market went a bit to far too soon", said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

"Weekly figures suggest the upward trend will resume in January and February and the old records are likely to be smashed", said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets for a dinner on Monday in Houston with US shale firms, the latest sign of the producer group widening talks about how best to tame a global oil glut. Observers have noted that should the USA exceed these production levels, it could potentially overtake Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation to become the world's top crude oil producer.

Oil prices fell for a third day on Thursday, dropping towards USD 64 a barrel as rising USA inventories, record output and a stronger dollar outweighed high OPEC compliance with its supply-cutting deal.

"That its oil market is dominated by a large number of uncoordinated, private-sector firms, many of whom benefit from lower production costs than producers elsewhere, means the USA will remain a major player for the foreseeable future".

Oil slid along with equities again early on Friday, but oil rebounded with US stocks as the S&P 500 index .SPX and the Nasdaq .IXIC moved into positive territory.

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OPEC officials will meet US shale executives at a USA energy conference on Monday, a gathering that underlines the influence of American output in keeping a lid on global prices.

The (), which measures the greenback against six major currencies, increased for a second day on Wednesday and was slightly higher on Thursday. A weaker United States dollar can boost oil and other greenback-denominated currencies.

Saudi Arabia last week said it hoped OPEC and its allies would be able to relax production curbs next year and create a permanent framework to stabilize oil markets after the deal expires.

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