Oil falls as OPEC output rises, more production planned

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global benchmark Brent crude fell Monday as supplies from Saudi Arabia and Russia rose while economic growth stumbled in Asia amid escalating trade disputes with the United States. At the same time, U.S. crude strengthened mid-session, buoyed by concerns about supply levels at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub. Cushing supplies are down partially due to an outage in Canada. Production at Syncrude Canada’s oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta is likely to remain offline at least through July, a Suncor Energy Inc spokeswoman reaffirmed on Tuesday. But while U.S. crude was bolstered by supply concerns, a flurry of announcements over the weekend unsettled oil markets. “There seems to be great uncertainty about how much oil will be added to the supply side of the market,” said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, referring to how much Saudi Arabia’s spare capacity will be able to offset shortages around the world. “How this really is going to play out seems to be up in the air.” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had agreed to pump more oil, “maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels.” The White House later walked back the comments. Saudi Arabia’s output is up by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) from May, a Reuters survey showed, and close to its 10.72 million bpd record from November 2016. Production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries increased by 320,000 bpd in June, according to a Reuters survey published Monday. The 12 OPEC members with supply reduction targets increased output by 680,000 bpd compared to May. Russian output rose to 11.06 million bpd in June from 10.97 million bpd in May, the Energy Ministry said on Monday. UP 30 percent in the past two years, to 10.9 million bpd, meaning the world’s three biggest oil producers now churn out almost 11 million bpd each, meeting a third of global oil demand. China, Japan and South Korea all reported slowdowns in export orders in June amid escalating trade disputes with the United States. “Recurring salvos in the trade war and falling asset prices raise the question of how much tariffs could damage the global economy,” U.S. bank JPMorgan said. The bank said a “medium-intensity (trade) conflict would likely reduce global economic growth by at least 0.5 percent, “before accounting for tighter financial conditions and sentiment shocks.” Trump threatened in an interview that aired on Sunday to put sanctions on European companies that do business with Iran. “The Trump administration’s plan for Iran sanctions is now abundantly clear. They seek to push Iranian exports of crude, condensate, and oil products to zero,” energy consultancy FGE said in a note.