Oil futures held steady on Monday as a rebound in Libyan oil production over the weekend weighed against upbeat economic data from Asia that pointed to strong energy demand from the region.
Oil prices extended gains on Wednesday despite an increase in U.S. crude inventories, lifted by Libyan supply disruptions and expectations of an OPEC-led output cut being extended.
A severe disruption to Libyan oil supplies and comments from officials suggesting OPEC could extend its production cuts deal to the end of the year boosted oil prices on Tuesday.
Swiss-based commodities giant Glencore has extended a deal with Libya's state oil firm to be the sole marketer of one third of the country's current crude oil production, sources familiar with the matter said.
Crude oil prices fell to their lowest levels since April today, with Brent on track for its biggest monthly loss since December 2015, pressured by slowing economic growth that threatened to increase a supply overhang of crude and refined products.
Crude oil prices fell nearly 2% today as traders shrugged off the impact of the attempted coup in Turkey and the market turned its attention to bearish fundamentals, while disruptions to crude exports in Libya lent prices some support.
Iran says it has no plans to freeze oil exports, causing weakness in the price of oil at the start of the week.
Since hitting a peak in prices on March 18 the spot WTI contract has shed about $4 per barrel as the market continues to trade in a battle between those who view the potential production freezing deal (if agreed) as a means to accelerate the global rebalancing of the oil market versus those who are focused on the reality that the global overhang is not going to clear for the foreseeable future.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen became a friend to the commodity markets as she was just dovish enough to inspire a rally. Her comment yesterday that central bankers will “proceed cautiously” in raising interest rates because the global economy presents heightened risks was enough to get the complex going. After Yellen spoke, the dollar fell, the euro rose and commodities like gold and silver started to rise. Crude oil, of course, was a little reluctant because of fears of the ongoing oil glut, but the American Petroleum Institute (API) supply report was not as bad as feared.
OPEC member Libya does not plan to attend an April 17 oil producer meeting about freezing production to support prices because it wants to increase output when the situation allows, a Libyan OPEC delegate said.