Oil prices hold steady though stats show little relief for oversupplied market

Supply stats from the Middle East and USA don't bode well given the IEA has also downgraded its demand forecast for 2017.

Stack of oil barrels
Oil stocks keep stacking up

Brent crude prices held at around US$44 per barrel on Thursday as stats show no signs of relief for the oversupplied market.

For all the talk of a possible OPEC production freeze stats from Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s largest producer, showed record output levels.

The Kingdom produced almost 11mln barrels for the month of July, which contributed to OPEC’s overall output increasing by some 46,000 barrels per day from the preceding month.

OPEC pumped a total of 33.11mln barrels in July.

Seemingly the group of major oil producing nations are again prioritising market share, rather than supporting the unit price of an individual barrel of crude.

America, at the other side of the oil market attrition, continues to see oversupply.

Stockpile statistics from the US Energy Department revealed 1.1mln extra barrels of crude in the country’s stockpiles last week, which came against expert predictions for a 1mln barrel draw on inventories.

The US crude surplus now measures some 523.6mln barrels.

With that being said, there’s plainly no relief in predictions from the International Energy Agency which sees oil demand growing by only 1.2mln barrels per day next year.

It represents a slowing of around 200,000 barrels per day compared to 2016, and some 100,000 barrels per day from a prior IEA estimate for 2017, which came last month.

In London trading on Thursday, Brent crude was up slightly at US$44.10 while West Texas Intermediary crude futures were down 0.2% at around US$41.60.

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