Oil held losses below $60 a barrel as near- record U.S. production prolonged an oversupply amid the lowest trading volatility in eight months.
Futures were little changed in New York after declining 1 percent on Thursday. U.S. crude stockpiles remained 84 million barrels above the five-year average for this time of the year while the nation pumped near the fastest pace in more than three decades of weekly government data. A measure of price fluctuations in West Texas Intermediate dropped to the lowest level since Oct. 29.
Oil’s rebound from a six-year low has faltered on signs a global glut will persist as rising prices spur output. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its quota of 30 million barrels a day at a June 5 meeting as the group sought to defend market share against higher-cost producers.
“Whether it’s OPEC or the U.S., it’s all about the supply side,” Michael McCarthy, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. “Oil is very much stuck in a range.”
WTI for August delivery was at $59.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 4 cents, at 1:10 p.m. Singapore time. The contract fell 57 cents to $59.70 on Thursday. Total volume was about 64 percent below the 100-day average. Prices, little changed for the week, have gained 12 percent this year.
Brent for August settlement was 31 cents higher at $63.51 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It slid 29 cents to $63.20 on Thursday. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $3.75 to WTI, compared with $3.05 on June 19.
Crude inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, decreased for an eighth week to 463 million barrels through June 19, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. Production was close to the 9.61 million barrel-a-day record from two weeks earlier, the fastest pace in data compiled by the Energy Department’s statistical arm since January 1983.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange Crude Oil Volatility Index closed at 29.26 on Thursday. The gauge of hedging costs on the U.S. Oil Fund, the largest exchange-traded fund tracking WTI futures, is set for a fourth weekly decline.
OPEC’s share of the global market last year shrank to 41.8 percent last year, the smallest since 2003, underscoring its motive to defend sales by maintaining supply. The 12-member group pumped 30.68 million barrels a day last year, according to the Annual Statistical Bulletin from its Vienna-based secretariat on Wednesday.
Iran must grant access so that United Nations inspectors can verify its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, said two senior Obama administration officials who are close to the negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said this week that economic, financial and banking sanctions must be lifted immediately after an accord with world powers, as talks approached a June 30 deadline. Inspections of military sites and restrictions on the nuclear program aren’t acceptable, he told senior government and military officials, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.
Iran has estimated it could double oil exports from about 1 million barrels a day within six months of international sanctions being lifted.