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Oil prices drift lower on U.S. output statements

U.S. crude oil production expected to drift lower by 2016.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Credit Suisse says oil price trajectory hinges at least in part on production from the United States. Photo by Oskari Porkka/Shutterstock
Credit Suisse says oil price trajectory hinges at least in part on production from the United States. Photo by Oskari Porkka/Shutterstock

NEW YORK, June 19 (UPI) -- Concerns about the trajectory of crude oil prices trumped reports of increased demand in the United States, sparking a retraction in early Friday trading.

Brent crude oil prices were off more than 1.6 percent before the opening bell on Wall Street to $63.23 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell 1.5 percent from the previous close to $59.52 in early trading. Neither index is trading above the point at which it started June.

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Crude oil prices at one point in 2015 were more than 50 percent below June 2014 levels as markets tilted heavily toward the supply side, in large part because of contributions from U.S. oil.

In a research note, Credit Suisse said prices could fall again if U.S. oil production continued to grow, but remain stable should output begin to decline.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show Alaskan oil production declined six percent to 478,000 barrels per day for the week ending Jan. 12, while output from the Lower 48 increased only marginally to 9.1 million bpd.

Total U.S. crude oil production in May reached 9.6 million bpd, but levels are expected to decline through early 2016. The full-year 2016 average is expected to be 9.3 million bpd, EIA said.

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The American Petroleum Institute said U.S. petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, in May grew 5.3 percent year-on-year to 19.5 million barrels per day for its highest level of the year. With low prices at the pump, and good job numbers in the United States, API said much of the demand was driven by gasoline.

"Fuel demand was up across the board last month, but stocks of crude oil and gasoline remained elevated thanks to robust production," API Chief Economist John Felmy said in a statement.

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