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Oil steady, pulls back from $71/bbl on dollar strength

CommoditiesMar 27, 2018 01:22PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A gas station attendant pumps fuel into a customer's car at a gas station in Shangha

By Ayenat Mersie

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday, with Brent futures retreating after hitting $71 a barrel, as the dollar recovered from earlier losses and as the market continues to stagnate after strong gains last week.

The oil market has been supported by concerns about possible disruption to Middle East supply, though strong global output has tempered the bullishness somewhat, particularly with both Brent and U.S. crude benchmarks trading near highs last seen in late February.

Brent crude futures (LCOc1) were up 8 cents to $70.22 by 12:40 p.m. EDT (1640 GMT), but down from an earlier high of $71.03 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures (CLc1) fell 8 cents to $65.48 a barrel, after touching $66.41.

"The dollar index is poking up there, and that's probably weighing a little bit on prices," said Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.

The dollar (DXY) rebounded from a five-week low hit earlier in the session on improved sentiment as trade tensions eased. A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Prices for both crude benchmarks have risen by more than 6 percent so far this month and are on track for a third consecutive quarterly gain, which last happened in 2010. An agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and others that started more than a year ago has continued to reduce supply.

The deal is due to expire at the end of 2018, but Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Reuters that OPEC and Russia were working on an agreement to cooperate for another 10 to 20 years, though that does not specifically mean cuts will continue for that long.

Analysts said the market's current strength may not last. In a note, Barclays (LON:BARC) Research analysts said they also expected the supply deficit of the past few months to give way to a surplus due to rising U.S. output.

U.S. production has grown by nearly 25 percent in less than two years to above 10 million barrels per day .

U.S. crude inventories were forecast to have risen for the fourth time in five weeks, according to analysts polled ahead of inventory reports for last week from industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) later on Tuesday and the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

(Graphic: Global spot crude futures volumes - https://reut.rs/2I32GHF)

Oil steady, pulls back from $71/bbl on dollar strength
 

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Comments (1)
Paul Eckel
Paul Eckel Mar 27, 2018 8:08AM ET
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I appreciate the information.  Thank you.  Fact check though:  The article states that Iran "signed the nuclear deal with 6 countries."  They never did sign the deal.  CHeck it.
 
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