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Crude Oil Futures - Weekly Outlook: January 2 - 6

Commodities Jan 01, 2017 03:57PM ET
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© Reuters. Oil posts biggest annual gain since 2009
 
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Investing.com - Oil futures finished with modest losses in the final trading session of 2016 on Friday, but scored the biggest annual gain since 2009 in wake of the landmark deal reached by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and several non-OPEC members to reduce their output.

On the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for March delivery ticked down 3 cents, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $56.82 a barrel by close of trade Friday, not far from a 17-month high of $57.89 touched on December 12.

London-traded Brent futures logged a gain of $1.66, or around 2.9%, on the week. The global benchmark saw an annual rise of 52%, which was its largest yearly rise since 2009.

Elsewhere, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in February dipped 5 cents, or about 0.1%, to end the week at $53.02 a barrel, within sight of a one-and-a-half-year peak of $54.51 logged on December 12.

For the week, New York-traded oil futures added 70 cents, or 1.3%. On a most-active basis, the U.S. benchmark futures contract saw a nearly 45% calendar-year rise, also its best year since 2009.

Trading remained tepid ahead of the New Year holiday. Global oil markets will be closed Monday.

Oil recovered sharply from its February bottom, when prices traded at a 13-year low of around $26-per-barrel, thanks to an agreement by global oil producers to curb production for the first time in eight years.

OPEC members agreed to lower production by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day starting from January 1, their first such deal since 2008.

The pact was followed by an agreement from 11 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to reduce their supplies by 558,000 barrels a day.

The deal, if carried out as planned, should reduce global supply by about 2%.

However, some traders remain skeptical that the planned cuts will be as substantial as the market currently expects.

There are also some worries in the market about production increases in Libya and Nigeria, which are both allowed to ramp up production as part of the OPEC deal.

Meanwhile, indications of increased drilling activity in the U.S. remained in focus. Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes said late Friday that the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. last week increased by 2 to 525, the ninth straight weekly rise and a level not seen in almost a year.

Some analysts have warned that the recent rally in prices could be self-defeating, as it encourages U.S. shale producers to drill more, adding to concerns over a global supply glut.

Oil prices will gradually rise towards $60 per barrel by the end of 2017, a Reuters’ poll showed on Thursday, with further upside capped by a strong dollar, a likely recovery in U.S. oil output and possible non-compliance by OPEC with agreed cuts.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for February shed 0.8 cents, or 0.5% to $1.670 a gallon. Gasoline ended a three-year streak of annual declines with a 31.4% rise, its biggest annual percentage jump since 2009.

February heating oil gained 0.8 cents, or 0.5%, to finish at $1.728 a gallon. For the year, the fuel advanced nearly 55%, its largest one-year percentage gain since 2007.

Natural gas futures for February delivery settled 7.8 cents, or 2%, lower at $3.724 per million British thermal units. Natural gas rose nearly 12% in December, aided in part by forecasts for colder-than-normal weather in parts of the U.S. For the year, natural gas’s 59.4% annual rise was the strongest in 11 years.

In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Wednesday and Thursday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer. This week's reports come out one day later than usual.

Oil traders will also continue to pay close attention to comments from global oil producers for further evidence that producers will stick to their agreement to cut production next year.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, January 2

Oil markets will remain closed for the New Year's holiday.

Wednesday, January 4

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.

Thursday, January 5

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.

A separate weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage is also due.

Friday, January 6

Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.

Crude Oil Futures - Weekly Outlook: January 2 - 6
 

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