Oil Prices Fall as Investors Wait for OPEC Cuts to Take Effect

By Neanda Salvaterra and Biman Mukherji Features Dow Jones Newswires

Oil futures were depressed Tuesday, following last week's decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to extend a crude-oil production cap amid a global supply glut.

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Brent crude, the world oil benchmark, fell 0.88% to $51.83 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures for July delivery were down 0.24% at $49.68 a barrel.

OPEC announced Thursday it would extend its production-cut deal through March 2018. Crude futures slumped initially, reflecting market disappointment that the cuts weren't deeper.

Oil prices have since recovered some ground, steadying as market participants come to terms with an expected gradual trimming of inventories.

"The market was just hoping for another surprise," said Emily Ashford, director of energy research at Standard Chartered. "And was just disappointed that they didn't go any further."

Analysts said the price fall was due partly to speculative investors unwinding their long positions ahead of the OPEC meeting and the pull from a broader commodities sell off.

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Later Tuesday, investors will watch for an estimate from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group that forecasts production and stock estimates.

On Thursday, the U.S. will release official data on crude stocks, which have declined for seven straight weeks. Global supplies remain above a five-year average however and any decline will likely be instrumental in helping OPEC members decide their next steps.

"Markets will certainly be very focused on data releases," OM Financial's Stuart Ive said.

Data from oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc. have lately shown a deceleration in the growth of U.S. oil rigs, even as drilling activity in the country has risen for a 19th consecutive week, threatening OPEC's goal of reducing inventories.

Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock--the benchmark gasoline contract--fell 0.01% to $1.62 a gallon. ICE gasoil changed hands at $460.00 a metric ton, down $6.25 from the previous settlement.

Write to Neanda Salvaterra at neanda.salvaterra@wsj.com and Biman Mukherji at biman.mukherji@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 30, 2017 07:00 ET (11:00 GMT)