Oil edges up from 2-week lows but gains limited

The price of crude oil fell Thursday, to two-week lows, on pressure from a strong dollar and worries surging US crude production might overwhelm OPEC's efforts to reduce global supply.

Brent, the global benchmark, settled at US$63.83 (RM250.26) a barrel, down 90 cents, or 1.4 per cent.

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"It is likely the monthly data will show US crude oil production in December about 200,000-300,000 bpd above what was estimated in the weekly reports", Petromatrix analyst Olivier Jakob said in a note. Those settlement prices represented a modest recovery from session lows, when benchmarks had slid more than a dollar.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with some non-OPEC members led by Russian Federation, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018. USA crude fell 45 cents to Dollars 61.19. At 423.5 million barrels, United States crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

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US crude output hit an all-time high of 10.057 million barrels per day (bpd) in November before falling slightly in December, the government said, but weekly data showed another record and further gains are expected. Crude prices remained under pressure from concerns that USA production may be high enough to offset output cuts from OPEC and Russian Federation, he said. West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.37 percent to $63.24 per barrel. The dollar index hit a near six-week high yesterday following consumer inflation figures showing the largest gain in 12 months, Reuters reported. "A transition of the deal is needed but not yet visible, with both an over-tightening and an orderly unwinding being potential scenarios", said Norbert Rucker, head of commodity research at Swiss bank Julius Baer.

Opec's cut, which began a year ago, has helped boost prices from levels below US$30 seen in January 2016.

A Reuters survey on Wednesday found OPEC production fell in February to a 10-month low.

Fawad said the market has been ignoring "good compliance with the production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC countries".