Oil Falls

Oil fell on signs that OPEC’s implementation of its latest supply cuts has stalled as a deepening economic slump in the U.S. threatens demand.
TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg 2/6/2009 5:25:47 AM

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will keep oil shipments steady at a five-year low over the next four weeks, data from tanker-tracker Oil Movements showed. Unemployment in the U.S. probably climbed in January to the highest level since 1992, according to a Bloomberg survey before a Labor Department report today.

Crude oil for March delivery fell as much as $1.41, or 3.4 percent, to $39.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract has dropped below $40 every day this week. It was at $39.88 a barrel at 12:30 p.m. in London.

Prices have declined 9.9 percent this year and tumbled 54 percent from a year earlier.

Brent crude oil for March settlement was at $45.80 a barrel, down 66 cents, on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange at 12:31 p.m. London time. The contract is trading at a $5.88 premium over futures in New York because of growing U.S. stockpiles.

OPEC is still monitoring the result of its series of production cuts to decide whether more reductions are needed at a March 15 ministerial meeting, group president Joao Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said in an interview yesterday in Luanda.

OPEC, producer of more than 40 percent of the world’s oil, will load 23.41 million barrels a day onto tankers in the four weeks to Feb. 21, unchanged from the quantity shipped in the four weeks to Jan. 24, Oil Movement said in a report yesterday.

On Dec. 17 the group agreed on output constraints that would mean reducing supplies in January by 2.2 million barrels a day from December levels.

Still, the members of OPEC with production quotas managed to cut 1.05 million barrels a day of output, according to a Bloomberg News survey of producers, oil companies and industry analysts.

Oil prices have remained near the $40 level for the past five trading sessions. The 30-day historical volatility for crude oil fell to 92.28 percent today, the lowest since Dec. 19, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Crude oil may trade between $39 and $43 a barrel in New York next week as U.S. stockpiles increase and OPEC members reduce production to bolster prices.