Oil dives 3%, OPEC+ decision fails to allay demand worries
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Oil dives 3%, OPEC+ decision fails to allay demand worries

Oil dives 3%, OPEC+ decision fails to allay demand worries

OPEC+ agreed to extend crude oil supply cuts into 2025

Oil hovers near 3-week high on Middle East tensions

Oil prices tumbled more than $2 a barrel on Monday to multi-month lows, as investors worried about the demand outlook and took a complicated OPEC+ output decision as a sign that members of the producer group were eager to export more crude.

OPEC+ on Sunday agreed to extend most of its deep oil output cuts into 2025 but left room for voluntary cuts from eight core members to be gradually unwound from October onwards. The group also agreed to a new output target for the UAE, which has been pushing for higher quota.

“There’s a lack of clarity and the market is concluding, with the top-up in UAE production, that there is discord within the group amid a push to produce and export more oil,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital.

Oil market hit by geopolitical factors

Brent crude futures fell by $2.81, or 3.5 per cent, to $78.30 a barrel by 1:30 pm ET (1730 GMT). US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were $2.85, or 3.7 per cent, lower at $74.14 a barrel. Both contracts hit their lowest since early February.

Other analysts also called the group’s decision incrementally bearish for oil prices in light of high interest rates and rising output from non-OPEC producers like the US.

Ultimately, a combination of factors has come into play,” independent oil analyst Gaurav Sharma said, highlighting disappointing economic indicators in the US and China.

“So, when OPEC+ took the decision it did over the weekend, in a reasonably well supplied crude market, traders factored in the macro picture alongside a dwindling risk premium (with talk of a ceasefire in Gaza) and went net short,” Sharma said.

An aide to the Israeli Prime Minister confirmed on Sunday that Israel had accepted a framework deal being advanced by the US for winding down the Gaza crisis, although the Israeli side described it as a flawed deal.

Signs of weakening demand growth have also weighed on oil prices in recent monthswith data on US fuel consumption in focus.

The US Energy Information Administration will release estimates of oil stocks and fuel demand on Wednesday, which will show how much gasoline was consumed around the Memorial Day weekend, the start to U.S. driving season.

“The hard numbers are that the market is well-supplied,” Kilduff said. “If we do not get a spectacular number on Memorial Day in the US, that’s going to be game over,” he added.

US gasoline futures were down over 3 per cent on Monday to an over three-month low of $2.34 a gallon.

Read: OPEC+ extends deep oil production cuts into 2025

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