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Oil Ends Down for 9th-Straight Day; $60 Support Looks Fragile

CommoditiesNov 08, 2018 03:20PM ET
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© Reuters. Oil in biggest losing streak since 2014. - Is $60 oil on its last legs before OPEC comes to save the day for the bulls?

The front-month contract in U.S. West Texas Intermediate came less than $1 to breaking the $60 per barrel support in Thursday's session as the tumble in crude futures continued a ninth-straight day for the market's worst losing streak in more than four years.

Brent, the international benchmark for oil, was similarly at risk with losing its $70 per barrel support.

Technically in a bear market after losing more than 20% from the highs of early October, the selloff in oil seems unstoppable despite OPEC's rumblings on Wednesday that it might join Russia to cut output as early as next month to put a floor beneath the market.

Instead, traders seemed fixated on the new weekly record high of 11.6 million barrels per day in U.S. crude production cited by the Energy Information Administration. The EIA, which delivered that data on Wednesday, also announced a seventh-straight weekly rise in U.S. crude stockpiles, of which six have been outsize builds.

Compounding the bearish mood, market intelligence firm Genscape reported on Thursday a 2.2-million-barrel weekly build at the Cushing, Okla. delivery base for WTI, traders who saw the data said. Any weekly Cushing build above 1 million barrels is typically bearish for oil prices.

"The market is almost daring OPEC to do something now," said John Kilduff, oil trader and partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital. "We have an OPEC meeting this weekend and I find it hard to believe they are not going to get together and try and talk this market back up."

The Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which includes Saudi Arabia and other major Middle Eastern oil producers along with Russia, will be meeting this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

That will be followed by OPEC's monthly meeting in Vienna on Dec. 6, where production quotas are usually finalized. Russia will be meeting with OPEC a day after that, in line with the cooperation that has existed since 2015 between the cartel and Moscow to intervene in any collapse in global oil prices.

U.S. WTI settled $1 down, or 1.8%, at $60.67 per barrel, after hitting an 8-month low at $60.56. WTI is down 21% since hitting four-year highs of nearly $77 in early October.

With Thursday's slide, WTI has settled down without a pause since Oct 29. The last time it experienced such a losing streak was between June 26 and July 9 2014, when it fell 10 sessions in a row.

Brent crude was down $1.37, or almost 2%, to $70.70 per barrel by 2:55 PM ET (19:55 GMT). That was almost 20% off Brent's four-year highs of nearly $87 hit last month.

Tariq Zahir, who trades long-dated spreads in WTI at Tyche Capital Advisors in New York, also believes OPEC will intervene to try and pull the market higher.

"But the market's most likely going to break $60 first as the record highs in U.S. production is a bigger worry for now," Zahir said.

Oil Ends Down for 9th-Straight Day; $60 Support Looks Fragile

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