Crude oil futures fall 0.31% on weak global cues

Oil prices have gained almost 20 percent this year, driven primarily by coordinated supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partners including Russian Federation.

Brent futures for July settlement were down 65 cents at $79.15 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, and traded $8.01/bbl above WTI.

Crude oil prices are under pressures as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and NON-OPEC start laying the groundwork for a production increase and traders take profits ahead of the long holiday weekend.

Concern about a potential drop in Iranian oil exports following Washington's exit from a nuclear arms control deal with Tehran have driven prices to multi-year highs.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, signaled on Friday that its 18-month-old quest to drive up crude prices and drain global inventories might be coming to an end. Meanwhile Pierre Andurand, one of the most prominent hedge fund managers in the oil market, recently said that $300 a barrel was "not impossible". US President Donald Trump directed his ire against OPEC last month, saying in a tweet that "oil prices are artificially Very High!"

West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark for the price of oil, was down 2.53 percent to $68.92 per barrel.

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"A 5.8 million-barrel build is kind of like a slap in the face, where it's like, 'Where did this oil come from?' And as you look through the numbers, it doesn't make a lot of sense", said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. Prices were further propped up by a significant oil production decrease in Venezuela - it saw April oil production in the Latin America country drop to 1.5 million barrels per day, a new long-term low, according to Reuters.

"It seems as if the pull backs are just short-term profit taking and we will see whether people are going to be willing to drive the market through $80 again", he said.

Oil prices extended losses Wednesday morning, after weekly data showed a sharp rise in USA crude stockpiles.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Charles Schumer, U.S. senate democratic leader, held a news conference at a Washington Exxon station to criticize Trump for gasoline prices jumping 25 percent since the brash billionaire took office a year ago.

For Russia, stability is more important than a short-term significant growth in price, he said in the interview.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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