03 July 2015 – Oil prices dropped on Friday as a rising US rig count stoked fears of oversupply and after Chinese regulators opened an investigation into suspected stock market manipulation.
Front-month US crude futures were trading at $56.72 per barrel early on Friday, down 21 cents from their last settlement.
That means that US crude has fallen from a price range of $57-62 per barrel that it had been in since early May.
Brent crude futures were more stable, down just 3 cents at $62.04 per barrel. But the contract remained in a downward trend that has been in place since early May and which has seen prices fall almost 10%.
“Negative sentiment stemmed from an increased US oil rig count (by 12 to 640), after dropping for six months. US shale producers have brought down the breakeven cost from $35 to $20 per barrel,” ANZ bank said on Friday.
“The current US horizontal and vertical rig count across the Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Niobrara shale plays implies that US oil production growth will reach 135,000 barrels per day year-on-year by 4Q15,” Goldman Sachs said on Friday.
The rising US rig count adds to near record production by Opec and Russia.
Traders said that Asia’s commodity markets were also impacted by reports that China’s regulators had opened an investigation into suspected market manipulation after a slump of more than 20% in Chinese stocks since mid-June.
On Thursday, Shanghai’s benchmark composite index fell below 4000 points for the first time since April – a key support level that analysts had expected Beijing to defend. They had predicted that more conservative investors would start closing out leveraged positions if the index dropped below 4000.