Oil Prices Fall to 11-day Low on US Shale Output Surge


"The glaring rise in USA gasoline refined product inventories, in combination with persistent lower-48 production growth, keeps us cautious on oil prices", said Chris Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at Macro Risk Advisors LLC in NY.

USA crude oil production rose to 9.25 million barrels per day, official data showed, up nearly 10 percent since mid-2016.

Oil prices fell on Tuesday, then slid more in post-settlement trade after an industry group reported that USA crude stockpiles fell less than expected in the latest week while gasoline stockpiles grew unseasonably.

Moreover, oil prices were under pressure as a stronger USA dollar dented investor sentiment, which made the dollar-denominated oil less attractive for holders of other currencies.

May West Texas Intermediate crude CLK7, -3.95% lost 15 cents, or 0.3%, at $52.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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"We should have a month of headline-driven trading in the run-up to the May 25 meeting", Gene McGillian, manager of market research for Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a phone interview. "Ahead of summer driving season, it is surprising to see a lag in demand".

USA stockpiles and production have cast doubt on whether the OPEC cuts were enough.

The API reported surprisingly that gasoline inventories increased, while crude oil stocks fell by less than expected, said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

Last November, OPEC members along with non-OPEC countries such as Russian Federation have agreed to reduce their daily output by 1.8 million barrels during the first half of this year in a bid to end the global supply glut. United States production rose to 9.252 million barrels a day in the most recent week, highest since August 2015.

If OPEC sticks to production cuts expect oil to reach $65 dollars by the end of the year.

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Any increase in output in the United States, now the world's third-biggest oil producer, was likely to put pressure on oil cartel Opec - which agreed to curb output at the end of 2016 - to cut production further. "It's the warning bell to the strength of the market".

Global benchmark Brent crude futures were down 26 cents at $55.10 a barrel at 0803 GMT. Saudi Arabia, boasting the world's second largest oil reserves, is now leading world's oil exports and is one of the most influential OPEC member.

Oil-producing nations are moving closer toward ending a global glut and re-balancing the crude market, and OPEC will decide next month whether to extend its cuts in output beyond June, the group's Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said.

Many U.S. sanctions against Iran were lifted in late 2015 under a nuclear deal, allowing Tehran to more than double its crude exports over 2016, adding to the global overhang.

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