Crude hovers near multi-month lows with market in doldrums

Oil price NOSEDIVES to lowest level in more than a YEAR after falling more than 4 percent

OPEC and allied producers used output cuts to curb an oil glut that sent prices from late 2014 into a prolonged slump, bringing prices to below $30 a barrel at the start of 2016.

USA crude inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for US crude futures, rose by 1.85 million barrels in the week through December 18, traders said, citing data from market intelligence firm Genscape.

Brent crude fell 32 cents a barrel to US$54.03 by 1.08pm EDT (1808 GMT) after earlier touching US$52.79 a barrel, its weakest since September 2017.

Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said on Thursday he does not expect a sharp increase in oil prices in the short term, unless there are geopolitical problems.

OPEC and its allies will give greater clarify on their strategy to stabilize oil markets on Friday by publishing a list of production cuts agreed by each country, according to people familiar with the matter.

Shale from the US has an output of about 8 million barrels a day and may increase even further, say the USA government.

Crude oil prices fell Friday morning as the selloff extended and traders tested support levels amid widespread views that the market is oversupplied and that economic growth may slow.

The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute was said to report that USA crude inventories rose 3.45 million barrels last week, adding to fears of an oversupply after a government report on Monday said shale output is set to expand. The contract closed down 7.3 percent on Tuesday. WTI is set to decline about 9.5% for the week.

The United States now pumps 11.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude, putting it ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation. Meanwhile, doubts persist over the effectiveness of output cuts pledged by the OPEC+ coalition, even as Saudi Arabia expressed confidence in a long-term reduction.

It also suggests that China is unlikely to use crude purchases to help plug a widening trade gap with the United States, which remains a core source of tensions between the world’s top two economies.

Mohammad Barkindo said to reach the proposed cut of 1.2 million barrels per day, the effective reduction for member countries was 3.02 percent.

OPEC's Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo on Thursday said that the cartel is planning to release a table detailing output cut quotas for its members and allies such as Russian Federation.

That is higher than the initially discussed cuts of 2.5 percent as OPEC seeks to accommodate Iran, Libya and Venezuela, which are exempt from any requirement to cut.

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