Oil falls for fifth day as focus returns to growing exports

*Offshore drilling.

*Offshore drilling.

24 May 2016, London — Oil fell for a fifth consecutive day on Tuesday on rising production from major exporters, and as the dollar strengthened.

Brent futures had declined 25 cents to $48.10 a barrel by 1051 GMT, after closing down 37 cents in the previous session.

U.S. crude futures dropped 15 cents to $47.93 a barrel, having settled down 33 cents the day before.

Both contracts are on track for their longest losing streak since January.

Iraq’s oil output has reached 4.7 million barrels per day (b/d) and exports are running at a record 3.9 million b/d, the state-run Iraqi Media Network reported on Tuesday, citing Deputy Oil Minister Fayadh al-Nema.

Investor focus was shifting back to global oversupply after a wildfire hit exports from Canada while protests disrupted Nigerian production.

“Iraq’s production is up and Iran talked about increasing to 2.2 million barrels per day and there’s no way that OPEC is going to limit production rises,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

A meeting of the OPEC exporter group, including Iran, is scheduled for June 2.

Plans for a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to shore up crude prices by freezing output fell apart in April when Saudi Arabia demanded that Iran, its main rival for influence in the region, participate.

Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi was quoted on Sunday as saying the country’s crude export capacity will reach 2.2 million barrels by the middle of summer.

The dollar index rose on Tuesday, making dollar-priced oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

A strike in France hampered demand for crude oil in Europe as refineries were disrupted by pickets.

French police using water cannon and tear gas broke up a strike picket that was blocking access to a large oil refinery in the southern port area of Marseille in a government-versus-union showdown over labor law reforms.

The American Petroleum Institute releases inventory data on Tuesday, while figures from the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration come on Wednesday.

U.S. commercial crude stocks likely fell by around 2.5 million barrels to 538.8 million in the week ended May 20, a Reuters poll showed.

Just 2.8 billion barrels of oil were discovered outside North America in 2015, the lowest since 1952, following a sharp fall in exploration and appraisal drilling, consultant IHS said.
*Simon Falush; Editing – Dale Hudson

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