Oil Prices Decline After OPEC Announces Deal

11/30/17 01:22 PM EST
By Stephanie Yang 

Oil prices edged lower on Thursday, after a group of major oil producers came to an agreement to extend supply cuts through the end of next year.

Light, sweet crude for January delivery fell 23 cents, or 0.4%, to $57.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, in its fourth consecutive day of losses. Brent, the global benchmark, advanced 25 cents, or 0.4%, to $63.36 a barrel.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with a host of outside producers including Russia, agreed to continue to curb output for an additional nine months on Thursday, extending a deal that was set to expire in March 2018.

"This is well within expectations," said Ric Navy, senior vice president for energy futures at RJ O'Brien & Associates LLC. "The surprise would have been if they did anything different than that."

Prices swung between gains and losses ahead of the announcement, as some traders speculated that Russia may upend plans by declining to cut production through the end of next year.

According to Iraq's oil minister, the participants will review the deal and oil market conditions in June. The new agreement also will cap production in Libya and Nigeria, two countries that were exempt from last year's deal and contributed to the uncertainty over the effectiveness of the cartel's cuts this year.

Last year, OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed to limit supply by 1.8 million barrels a day from peak October levels. Since then, the oil market has shown signs of recovery after a yearslong glut that sent prices tumbling. Last week, oil prices traded at the highest level in more than two years.

Analysts had said that OPEC would need to continue the deal to keep pushing inventories down to the five-year average.

"This will probably keep the market relatively firm," said Andy Lebow, senior partner at Commodity Research Group. "Now we'll start looking at the inventory numbers."

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the amount of crude in storage declined by 3.4 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 24.

Meanwhile, stocks of refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel grew by more than analysts expected, weighing on the market.

On Thursday, gasoline futures fell 0.7% to $1.7192 a gallon, and diesel futures fell 1.4% to $1.8959 a gallon.

Summer Said and Benoit Faucon contributed to this article.

Write to Stephanie Yang at stephanie.yang@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 30, 2017 13:22 ET (18:22 GMT)

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