Crude Oil Prices – Weekly Outlook: March 18 – 22

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© Reuters.  © Reuters.

Investing.com – Oil traders will continue to focus on the outlook for global crude supplies in the week ahead amid signals that OPEC-led production cuts have helped tighten an oversupplied market.

OPEC, which together with some non-affiliated producers like Russia, known as ‘OPEC+’, agreed late last year to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to remove a glut and prop up prices.

Speaking on the sidelines of the OPEC, non-OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan on Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said he was optimistic about continued commitment to the oil supply cut agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC members.

“I am obviously optimistic that implementation of our OPEC+ agreement will improve, it’s already strong by historical standards,” said.

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OPEC+ ministers will next meet on 17-18 to decide on production policy.

Fresh data on U.S. commercial crude inventories and production activity will also capture the market’s attention this week.

The (EIA) reported that U.S. crude supplies unexpectedly fell by for the week ended March 8. The EIA also reported that total domestic crude production inched down from record territory, down 100,000 barrels to 12 million barrels a day.

Oil futures settled lower , with U.S. prices pulling back from a four-month high as worries about the economy weighed.

U.S. declined 9 cents to settle at $58.52 a barrel by close of trade. It earlier went as high as $58.95, the most since Nov. 13.

For the week, the U.S. benchmark climbed 4.3%, its best weekly gain in about a month.

Meanwhile, International futures ended Friday’s session down 7 cents at $67.16 a barrel.

Brent prices, which on Thursday hit their highest so far this year at $68.14, saw a gain of approximately 2.1% on the week.

With two weeks to the end of the first quarter, WTI is up 29% on the year and Brent 25%, with both benchmarks benefiting extensively from aggressive production cuts carried out by OPEC since the start of January. However, rising U.S. output is threatening to undo those cuts.

Data on Friday from energy services firm showed that the number of active rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell for a fourth straight week, though it was down by just one to .

“The market is still torn between economic concerns and high U.S. oil production on one hand and remarkable OPEC+ compliance on the other,” PVM oil broker Stephen Brennock said.

, Investing.com has compiled a list of the main events likely to affect the oil market.

Monday, March 18

The EIA will release its forecast for April U.S. shale oil production.

Tuesday, March 19

The American Institute (API) is to publish its weekly update on U.S. oil supplies.

Wednesday, March 20

The EIA will release its weekly report on oil .

Friday, March 22

Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.

— Reuters contributed to this report

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Source: Investing.com