Economy

USA crude oil inventories increase last week: API

USA crude oil inventories increase last week: API

At the end of the week, WTI settled at 45.59 USA dollars a barrel, while Brent crude closed at 53.82 dollars a barrel.

Oil prices reached multi-year highs in early October but are now approaching their lowest levels for 18 months.

An analyst at Samsung Securities in Seoul, Shim Hye-jin, stated: "If Opec's cuts are fulfilled, WTI prices are expected to rise to $50-60 a barrel, while Brent is expected to go up to between $58-70 a barrel next year".

US stocks sank on Monday, with all three major indices erasing more than 2 percent at the close.

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Prices surged on Wednesday, tracking heavily with a spike in the US equities market after President Donald Trump's administration attempted to shore up investor confidence. The situation was more complicated when Trump on Monday criticized the USA central bank on Twitter. Two top officials at Unipec, one of China's most powerful trading companies, were suspended this week following losses on bets related to oil prices in the second half of the year, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It dropped $2.31 (4.24%), the day before to settle at $52.16 per barrel. A key volatility gauge soared to the highest in more than a month as crude became increasingly entangled with other financial markets.

But other oil exporters have more than compensated for any shortfall, filling global inventories and depressing prices.

Brent crude futures dropped 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $53.67 a barrel, by 10:47 a.m. EST (1547 GMT).

In addition, the global oil market is still grappling with rising stockpiles, despite a daily 1.2 million-barrel output cut deal between Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, which is set to come into force since January next year.

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Oil production has been at or near records highs in the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia, with the USA pumping 11.6 million bpd of crude, more than both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore, said crude prices had been pressured by slowing economic growth "coupled with the expectation of strong US production in the new year".

Meanwhile, the number of active drilling rigs in the United States increased by three to 1,083 for the week ending December 28.

NEW YORK, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Thursday after rebounding 8 percent in the previous session, with prices pressured by concerns over a faltering global economy and worries about a glut in crude supply.

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