Crude oil futures tumble 2% on bearish Saudi comments
Crude oil futures tumbled on Monday, after bearish comments by Saudi Arabia’ oil minister prompted market players to refocus their attention on ample global supplies.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in May slumped $1.04, or 2.24%, to trade at $45.49 a barrel during European morning hours.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for May delivery declined $1.04, or 1.88%, to trade at $54.28 a barrel.
Meanwhile, the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $8.79 a barrel, compared to $8.75 by close of trade on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Sunday that the kingdom will continue to pursue the strategy of defending its own market share against non-OPEC producers rather than help support oil prices.
“We tried, we held meetings and we did not succeed because countries outside OPEC were insisting that OPEC carry the burden and we refuse that OPEC bears the responsibility,” Naimi said.
The comments underlined the view that Saudi Arabia will not change its stance on oil production.
Oil prices have fallen sharply in recent months as OPEC resisted calls to cut output, while the U.S. pumped at the fastest pace in more than three decades, creating a glut in global supplies.
Industry research group Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) said on Friday that the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by 41 last week to 825, the 15th-straight week of declines and the lowest since
Market players have been paying close attention to the shrinking rig count in recent months for signs it will eventually reduce the glut of crude flowing into the market.
However, total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 458.5 million barrels as of last week, the most in at least 80 years, indicating that cheap prices have yet to affect output.
Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.45% to 98.49 early on Monday. The index ended last week down 2.53%, the biggest weekly loss since October 2011.
The dollar’s losses came after the Federal Reserve downgraded its forecasts for growth and inflation and lowered its interest rate projections, prompting investors to push back expectations on the timing and pace of future rate increases.
Meanwhile, the euro slipped lower against the dollar ahead of a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later on Monday. The meeting comes amid ongoing concerns over Greece’s future in the euro zone.