Oil prices stabilise after sliding on US stock build

The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of US$5.14 to WTI.

LONDON-Oil prices slid on Friday on concerns over the resilient USA crude production and a deal between Iran and the West that could unlock millions of barrels of crude on to the oversupplied world market.

But a somewhat softer-than-expected monthly U.S.jobs report weighed on the dollar, and that helped provide support to oil prices.

“The market has found its equilibrium point and I don’t see any reason for us to break out of the range”, Michael Hiley, head of over-the-counter energy trading at New York-based LPS Partners Inc., a futures brokerage, said by phone Wednesday. It fell to 636,128 last month, down 40 percent from February’s record high of 1.07 million, according to exchange data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The market made a decision to focus on the economy and the old story about the oil glut (in trading on Friday)”, said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney’s Ayers Alliance.

Oil’s recovery from a six-year low in March has faltered amid speculation that rising prices will spur production and prolong a surplus. The count in nearly every major US oil basin gained, with Texas’s Eagle Ford shale formation adding three.

The chief of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the worldwide Atomic Energy Agency, is heading to Tehran for meetings with President Hasan Rouhani and other senior officials.

On Thursday, we learned that U.S. oil rigs in use rose by 12 to 640, the first increase since December 5, 2014.

“The pickup in activity might be illustrative of the competitiveness of the US shale industry which, thanks to cutting costs, might have become comfortable with producing oil at prices around $60 per barrel”, said Norbert Ruecker, head of commodities research at Julius Baer. That’s up from the previous week’s 628, the least since August 2010.

“We have broken out of a two-month trading range and there are a lot of bearish factors that have come out, plus there are very, very thin volumes today”, said Tariq Zahir, an analyst at Tyche Capital Advisers in New York.

UPDATE 3-Oil prices edge up after sliding on U.S. stock build | Reuters

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