Oil Steady Despite Libyan Disruption and Higher US Inventories

Oil prices slipped on Thursday after two days of increases as bloated U.S. inventories limited the impact of supply disruptions in Libya and lower output from other OPEC exporters.

Brent crude oil LCOc1 was down 30 cents at $52.12 a barrel by 0945 GMT (5:45 a.m. ET). U.S. crude oil CLc1 was 10 cents lower at $49.41.

Both benchmark crude contracts rose more than $1 a barrel on Wednesday to their highest levels for two weeks, rebounding from four-month lows. The futures contracts appeared to be searching for a new trading range, brokers said.

“There is a significant chance that a short-to-medium-term bottom has been found,” said Tamas Varga, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

Oil production in Libya has fallen more than 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) this week as output from its western oilfields of Sharara and Wafa has been blocked by armed protesters.

The reduction in Libyan oil output has coincided with attempts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to tighten supply to support prices.

A Reuters survey shows OPEC oil output has fallen for a third straight month in March as members of the group aim to trim 1.2 million bpd during the first six months of this year under a deal signed in November.


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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza