World oil prices down


US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.45 a barrel, down 35c.

The rising oil price comes as the extended OPEC and Russian Federation oil output cap remains firmly in place until the end of 2018.

USA oil prices rallied amid the news Tuesday, rising $1.44 to $63.17 a barrel to US crude's highest price since 2014.

Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to have increased by 11.8 percent in the recently-ended quarter, with the biggest gain from the energy sector, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The reporting season kicks off in earnest on Friday, with results from the big US banks JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co.

Crude oil prices then have rallied continuously with most oil prices hovering near a two and a half year high and a three year high as the markets continuously raised overall positive sentiments and upbeat price targets for the commodity.

The price spread between Brent and WTI was significantly greater in 2017 than in 2016. At the time, the cartel had pledged to extend its production cuts to get prices back to a more appealing level.

The market has also been buoyed by production curbs led by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Russian Federation, which are set to last until the end of 2018.

Previous year in November, OPEC and participating non-OPEC countries agreed to extend the production cut agreement that has reduced global oil supplies from those countries by 1.76 million barrels per day compared to the October 2016 level.

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Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts expect crude stocks fell 3.5 million barrels last week.

Brent for March settlement dipped 12 cents to $69.14/bbl on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after rising above the $70/bbl threshold on Thursday for the first time since 2014.

The average volume of USA product supplied for crude oil and petroleum products was 19.8 million b/d through October, the highest level since 2007. However, there were fears that investors would lose confidence in OPEC and prices would plummet if the extension was limited to six months.

OPEC's aim is to ensure the stabilisation of oil markets. Earlier prices rose to as much as $63.53, the highest since December 9, 2014.

If US shale oil producers do fill the void and bring some balance to the market, this would be good news for consumers.

The increased crude prices are already having an impact at gas stations across the U.S. According to travel analyst group AAA, the $2.49 per gallon average U.S. gas price on New Year's Day of 2018 was the most expensive price for that date since 2014.

Analysts are looking for an increase in gasoline stocks of 2.3 million barrels, which would fall well below the 6.05 million-barrel build seen for the same period from 2013-17.