Crude Oil Caps Longest Run of Monthly Advances in Five Years

(Bloomberg) - Oil capped the longest run of monthly gains in five years as a spate of disruptions curb supply before OPEC meets Thursday to discuss production policy.

Futures slipped Tuesday, trimming a fourth consecutive monthly advance, as Canadian producers start to resume operations after wildfires eased. Militant attacks have cut Nigerian supply to the lowest level in more than two decades. Libya’s Petroleum Facilities Guard captured towns near the oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf after clashes with Islamic State militants.

"Canadian production should come back quickly," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. "I wonder what it will take to continue this rally above $50, especially given that we have near-record global inventories. The rally was in large part due to production disruptions and at least some are easing."

Oil has surged more than 85 percent since touching a 12-year low in February on signs the global surplus is easing amid declining output. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is unlikely to reach an agreement limiting production this week in Vienna as the group sticks with Saudi Arabia’s strategy of squeezing out rivals, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Technical Signal

West Texas Intermediate for July delivery fell 23 cents to close at $49.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract briefly topped $50 for the second time this year. Prices rose 6.9 percent in May for the longest run of monthly gains since April 2011. Total volume traded was 32 percent below the 100-day average at 2:53 p.m.

There was no settlement on the Nymex Monday because of the U.S. Memorial Day holiday. Trades were booked Tuesday for settlement purposes.

In terms of technical analysis, the relative strength index for WTI started the session above the 70-point threshold that shows prices may have risen too quickly. It slipped below 70 as the market moved lower in late trading. 

"The relative strength index is chopping around 70 since May 24, which suggests that the rally is overdone," said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA in New York.

Delta Avengers

Brent for July settlement, which expired Tuesday, slipped 7 cents to $49.69 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices capped a fourth monthly increase, also the longest streak since 2011. The global benchmark closed at a 59-cent premium to WTI. The more-active August contract declined 47 cents to $49.89.

The Niger Delta Avengers claimed responsibility for attacks on facilities belonging to companies including Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Agip Oil Co., causing Nigerian output to tumble. A message on the Twitter handle @NDAvengers said the Nembe 1, 2 and 3 pipelines of the Brass-to-Bonny Truck Line were hit Saturday. Although the Twitter handle is linked to the group’s website, Bloomberg couldn’t immediately confirm the post’s authenticity.

Libyan forces took control of the towns of Bin Jawad and Nofaliyeh after clashes with Islamic State militants, PFG spokesman Ali al-Hasy said by phone. The country is OPEC’s smallest producer, pumping about 310,000 barrels a day.

Oil-market news:

Prices may climb to $60 a barrel or more this summer, United Arab Emirates Economy Minister Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori said at a conference. Iran plans to invite international companies to bid for oilfield development rights in June, a government official said, as the nation seeks to revive its energy industry. Saudi Arabian Oil Co. plans to increase the capacity of its main cross-country pipeline by 40 percent as the company expands oil fields in the eastern part of the nation and builds refineries on the western coast. Low expectations of OPEC’s June 2 meeting suggest that “any surprise could have an outsized impact,” Morgan Stanley said in a research note.

- With assistance from Caroline Alexander. To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Shenk in New York at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ramsey Al-Rikabi at ;Carlos Caminada at Anne Riley, Steven Frank


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