LONDON: Oil prices dropped on Tuesday after see-sawing throughout the session as lingering concerns over global demand and rising US output offset expectations for major producers to further curtail supply. Brent crude futures were down 45 cents, or 0.7 percent, from the previous settlement at $58.12 a barrel in London afternoon trade. The international benchmark
has lost more than 20 percent since hitting its 2019 high in April. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $54.34 per barrel, down 59 cents, or about 1 percent.
A deepening trade war between the US and China, the world’s two largest economies and energy consumers, has weighed heavily on oil prices in recent months.
China’s central bank lowered its official yuan midpoint for the ninth straight day to a fresh 11-year low on Tuesday. A weaker yuan raises the cost of dollar-denominated oil imports into China, the world’s biggest crude oil importer.
Booming US shale oil output also continues to chip away at efforts to limit the global supply overhang, weighing on prices.
US oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise by 85,000 barrels per day (bpd) in September to a record 8.77 million bpd, the Energy Information Administration forecast in a report.
The startup of a major pipeline between the Permian shale basin and the Gulf Coast means that more crude can be exported, adding to global supplies.
“The big test now is whether the shale producers can keep growing production at these lower price levels,” said Callum Macpherson, head of commodities at Investec.
“This could be the start of a readjustment process from the artificially high prices OPEC is implicitly trying to maintain down to something more in line with the marginal shale production costs,” Macpherson said.
Saudi Arabia said last week it planned to keep its crude exports below 7 million bpd in August and September to help drain global oil inventories.
OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, have agreed to cut 1.2 million bpd of production since Jan. 1.