Oil prices lack clear direction in push-pull market

Oil prices lack clear direction in push-pull market

U.S. WTI crude futures were last down $1.18 at $62.33 a barrel.

"Equities have been the most significant external driver for the short-term price direction of oil, with the significant volatility coming (partly) from the perception of a trade war", said Dominic Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in NY.

The energy minister of OPEC member Qatar told Reuters that organization and its allies should maintain supply cuts. Total volume traded was about 39 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent for June settlement declined 2 cents to US$68 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after slipping 10 cents yesterday.

At 0611 GMT, May WTI crude oil is trading $63.26, down $0.26 or -0.38% and June Brent is at $67.82, down $0.30 or -0.44%.

Oil was also supported by an unexpected decline in USA crude inventories Wednesday.

Several deaths after vehicle collides with pedestrians in Germany
The German news agency DPA later reported that the driver of auto that crashed into the crowd had killed himself. They told German news agency dpa that was the reason authorities cordoned off such a large area.

Futures in NY slipped as much as 2.1 percent to the lowest intraday price since March 20.

Despite their numbers, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia say they will set up a joint mechanism to govern OPEC and NOPEC cooperation will be set up by the end of the year, with talk at an energy conference in Baghdad suggesting that the supply freeze may have to be extended, instead of cut short. Opec and other producers are collectively curbing 1.8-million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output to help eliminate a glut in oil inventories.

U.S. storage dropped by 4.62 million barrels to 425.3 million barrels last week, while outbound shipments of crude expanded to a record, according to an Energy Information Administration report yesterday.

"Russia's report on a modest build of 0.02 million b/d in production, along with market expectations on the Saudi's plan to reduce physical crude oil contracts, weighed in slightly on prices, too", Phillip Futures investment analyst Benjamin Lu said.

Though this was largely thanks to the inexorable slide in Venezuela's oil production, figures are figures and the market is prone to take them at face value. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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