Oil Down Slightly in Subdued Trade After Failed North Korean Missile Test

Crude oil fell slightly on April 17 on signs that the United States is continuing to add output largely counteracting OPEC efforts to cut production.

Brent for June settlement dropped as much as US58¢, or 1 per cent, to US$55.31 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. A day earlier, before the break wrapped up most key markets, it ended up 3 cents at $55.89 per barrel.

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery fell 41 cents to $52.77/bbl at 12:15 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Increasing U.S. output is undermining attempts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil producers to curb output and sustain higher prices on oil market. North American markets closed for the Good Friday holiday.

On the other hand, OPEC continues to surprise the markets with its high level of compliance.

Although the failure of a ballistic missile launch in North Korea brought some respite, markets were braced for further tensions in the region.

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Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for May - the benchmark gasoline contract - fell 79 points to $1.7270 a gallon, while May diesel traded at $1.6442, 53 points lower.

The same report also mentioned that Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said that most oil producers support an extension of output cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC countries including Iran.

Turning back to CVX stock, shares are already down more than 10% from their December/January highs, but look set for another 6% drop back to their August-October range from previous year near the $100-a-share level.

Investors and crude traders in Asia also got their chance to assess the 13th consecutive increase in rig count by drillers of U.S. Shale oil.

Investors should also look out for important data such as the weekly U.S. crude inventories figures, to gain further insights into the pace of the oil market rebalancing. As a result, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is projecting record USA output of 9.7 million barrels per day in 2018. There's a long lag time between when rig counts would translate to actual production, though US output is already above 9 million barrels per day. Meanwhile, crude throughput, or the amount of crude that goes into a refinery before it comes out processed, rose 4.5% on-year to 11.25 million barrels a day in the same period.

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