Crude Oil Tightropes USD50 Again

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The global market is oversupplied by about 2 million barrels of oil a day.

Exports are buoyed in part by a larger-than-usual gap between the USA and global benchmarks for oil prices, making the cheaper American crude more desirable to foreign markets.

XAutoplay: On | OffU.S. crude tumbled 2.4% to $50.42 a barrel, threatening to fall back below the key $50 level after retaking that price a few weeks ago.

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Crude oil prices are diving deep into negative territory in early Monday trading. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

While a year ago senior oil traders and energy executives saw prices staying at the lower end of a $40-$60 range, this year most predicted a $50-$60 band for 2018.

With more market participants offering North Sea barrels, the ICE Brent futures structure had "room to collapse", one said. This should help draw down the massive 3 billion barrels of surplus crude oil that now plagues the oil industry. Analysts responding to commodity group S&P Global Platts said they expected to see a draw on USA crude oil inventories of around 1.5 million barrels, while US gasoline inventories climb 1.5 million barrels. Hedge funds are again piling into oil, as are long-term passive investors, attracted not only by rising prices, but also by a profitable change in the forward-price curve .

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These massive, yet conflicting swings in oil prices have been driven by a common denominator - the global surplus of crude oil.

With demand outpacing supply, crude and refined products inventories are shrinking.

Hedge funds boosted wagers on rising Brent crude to a record and were the most bullish they've been on the USA oil benchmark in five weeks on signs that global demand is improving. More than 15 percent of total USA refining capacity was impacted by Harvey at its peak, with pipelines from the region operating intermittently and the federal government releasing oil from its strategic reserves in order to offset the market strains.

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The National Oil Company will reduce its production share by 139, 000 barrel per day from November to meet agreement with Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Members of the OPEC and its allies need to extend the deal past March for at least three months to support prices, according to UBS Group AG.

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