Oil prices inch down on high stocks, weak China factories survey

Saudis seen losing market share on oil-production cuts

Asked by reporters about the probability of extending the deal for six more months, Zanganeh said, "During the past few days, we received positive signals from OPEC and non-members, in particular Russian Federation, about extending the agreement for the second half of 2017". As optimists lose heart, prices fell back below $50 last month.

OPEC meets on May 25 to discuss oil supply policy.

In December 2016, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reached a landmark agreement with Russian Federation and other non-members to proceed with the plan and slash oil production by almost 1.8 million barrels a day for six months starting January 2017.

Oil prices in 2017 have been determined by two main counterbalancing forces - supply cuts led by Opec and rising shale oil production in the US, QNB has said in an economic commentary.

More news: Mourinho: City favourites for top four, not United

In November past year, OPEC and other producers, including Russian Federation agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day between January and June, but so far the move has had little impact on inventory levels.

"Overall, Opec's compliance with the targets for output cuts set in November was 100 percent in Q1 2017". Much of this is attributable to Saudi Arabia cutting production by more than agreed, but there was a high compliance rate among other Opec members as well. Russian Federation has achieved around half of its targeted cuts, but others have actually increased production slightly. An extension to the Opec agreement is becoming increasingly likely.

However, there are also arguments against extending. The slippage from targeted cuts may have contributed to the recent weakness in oil prices. Oil declined as rigs targeting crude in the U.S. rose for a fifteenth week and output from Libya rebounded.

In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on US stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world's largest oil consumer. As producers pour billions of dollars of investment into fields like the Permian and Eagle Ford in Texas, the country's oil-rig count has more than doubled in a year to 697 last week, according to Baker Hughes Inc. Furthermore, the production cuts have handed a lifeline to United States producers, which have managed to increase production in response, grabbing market share. Reports of increased production are likely to keep the downside pressure on prices.

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