“The production growth from non-OPEC countries is still there so I do not expect a price rise in the near future,” Birol said.
Since the beginning of this year, rising output from non-OPEC countries, mostly from the U.S., has constrained oil price gains–and to a large extent, offset OPEC’s efforts to clear the glut, rebalance the market, and prop up oil prices.
But when signs emerged that the global oversupply had started to reduce at a faster pace, oil prices rose in the third quarter, with Brent prices rising by some 20 percent to post their strongest Q3 performance since 2004, and WTI prices booking their strongest Q3 in 10 years.
The rally in recent weeks was also propped up by a supply scare last week over possible disruptions of oil exports from Kurdistan along with hedge funds buying long positions. That short rally has since faded with oil prices turning lower as concerns of rising supply, mostly from the U.S., replaced fears of disruptions, and as money managers started taking profits from the long positions that had looked overstretched.
In addition, the number of oil rigs in the United States increased by 6 last week and the number of natural gas rigs decreased by 1. The oil rig count now stands 325 above the count one year ago.
Further depressing oil prices this week were surveys that OPEC’s production had increased in September, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) reporting on Tuesday a larger-than-expected gasoline inventories build of 4.19 million barrels for the week ending September 29, against an expected build of only 1.088 million barrels. The EIA report earlier today confirmed a gasoline stocks build, but of a more modest amount of 1.6 million barrels.
The United States Oil Fund LP ETF (USO) rose $0.06 (+0.60%) in premarket trading Thursday. Year-to-date, USO has declined -13.99%, versus a 14.30% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
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