Oil prices languish as supply concerns linger


SINGAPORE -- Oil prices fell in Asia Monday on persistent concerns about the global supply glut, after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) indicated that it will not budge from its current lofty output levels, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September fell 37 U.S. cents to US $46.75 while Brent crude for September eased 45 U.S. cents to US $51.76 inafternoon trade.

Prices were facing downward pressure following "signs that top producers in the Middle East were continuing to pump at record levels despite agrowing global glut," said Singapore's United Overseas Bank in a market commentary.

Oil prices dived on Friday after Abdullah El-Badri, OPEC secretary-general, said the group would not cut output in response to lower prices.

Speaking in Moscow on Thursday after meeting Russia's energy minister, he said the cartel is "not ready" to cut production.

Analysts said the statement shows the 12-nation OPEC, led by kingpin Saudi Arabia, is determined to defend its market share as it fends off competition from U.S. shale oil.

At its most recent meeting in Vienna in June, OPEC kept its output levels of around 30 million barrels a day despite the supply glut that has depressed oil prices.

Crude futures are under pressure also owing to the strength of the U.S. currency, which makes U.S.-dollar-priced oil more expensive to holders of weaker units, dampening demand.

Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at business consultancy firm EY, said the upcoming release of key U.S. and European economic data "will set the tone for crude oil prices" this week.

A slew of British, German and French manufacturing data will be released this week, while the keenly watched U.S. non-farm payrolls data for July will bereleased on Friday.


       

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