US Oil Export Surge Threatens OPEC Strategy

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West Texas Intermediate, the USA marker, is now near $62 a barrel. The contract rose 3% Friday, to end at $65.49 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange-up 1.7% for the week.

The reduction came as gross short positions on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed to their highest level in almost a month.

Both WTI and Brent as recently as Thursday had marked their lowest settlements since mid-February.

Investor concerns about rising U.S. oil output sent crude prices down on Monday, but investors stayed bullish on U.S. Treasuries despite an increased supply of three- and 10-year notes.

Investors will then be anticipating OPEC's next move as concerns about US production will likely dominate the oil cartel's June meeting in Vienna.

Still, fears over increasing USA production continue to weigh on producers and investors.

But the analyst seems to think this might be a fait accompli, because the OPEC deal is giving "market share to the U.S." via a surge in exports to the coveted Asian market, the traditional bastion of Middle East producers - and that this will encourage some nations to retaliate by boosting supply.

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On Friday, Baker Hughes said the United States rig count dropped for the first time in seven weeks. "But they may say we can't have these high prices and scale back the cuts".

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is breaking into two camps after more than a year of unity, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/opec-unity-is-spliting-over-differing-views-on-oil-prices-2018-03-12). At stake is OPEC's production limits, which are among factors helping the oil market's monthslong recovery.

"A falling rig count and the strong employment data may have helped support prices", NAN quoted William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities, to have said. It was the first such decline in seven weeks. The bigger problem is soaring US exports that are eating away the market share of OPEC members.

"The longer the deal goes on, it's going to start falling apart", Patterson said in an interview in Singapore, referring to an output-cut agreement between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russian Federation.

April WTI oil lost 68 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at USD61.36/bbl.

April natural gas bucked the downtrend among its energy peers, settling up 1.7% at $2.778 per million British thermal units, with forecasts for more cold weather in the eastern US boosting expectations for heating demand.

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