Economy

'Oil price may hit $51 per barrel'

'Oil price may hit $51 per barrel'

Oil prices fell by one percent early on Wednesday after data showed a build in USA crude stocks and Opec reported a rise in its production despite its pledge to cut back.

Analysts said both benchmarks were dragged lower by a bigger than 4 percent drop in U.S. gasoline futures after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a 2.1 million-barrel increase in gasoline inventories last week.

'Oil price may hit $51 per barrel'
'Oil price may hit $51 per barrel'

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for July delivery fell 0.04% to $44.44 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent was last quoted at $46.91 a barrel. It is important to note that gasoline stockpiles rose by a surprising 2.1 million barrels (considering the decline), compared to an expectation of 457,000 gallons drawdown as, it seems, Americans are spending more time traveling to vacations within North America. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 8 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $44.38 per barrel. "It's a huge resource, it's changed everything", said Gary N Ross, global head of oil at energy analysts Pira, of USA shale.

The report said: "Overall, stable demand and low volatility are the factors that should push Brent prices up by $2 or $3 in the coming weeks".

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Oil inventories have remained high several months into a deal by OPEC producers with non-member nations to reduce supply by 1.8 million bpd.

Ross said surplus oil stocks were being drawn down, "but not at the rate Opec would like to see" because of United States production.

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The increase was largely, because members that are exempt from the output cuts agreed in November, such as Libya and Nigeria, increased production after prior curtailments due to civil unrest.

Shale producers and OPEC are now on a collision course, with OPEC curbing production to try to raise prices and shale drillers adding rigs to boost output. This imbalance would potentially require OPEC to sustain production cuts to prevent further downward pressure on prices. For drivers, this may mean more oil hauling opportunities in the future, or other heavy-duty market driving positions to become available over the course of the next few months. New non-OPEC output next year will be more than enough to meet demand growth, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday in its first forecast for 2018.

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