U.S. Oil Falls Below $50, Threatens To Slip Below Trading Averages After OPEC Confab

By Mark DeCambre Markets MarketWatch Pulse

U.S. crude-oil prices on Thursday turned sharply lower in midday trade, slipping under $50 dollar a barrel, as investors expressed disappointment about the scope of an agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to extend production cuts by nine months. Most recently, West Texas Intermediate crude-oil for July delivery was down 3.5% at $49.56 a barrel, the contract, along with its international counterpart Brent crude, had been trading at one-month highs just prior to the highly anticipated OPEC meeting. Brent crude was off 3.2% at $52.20 a barrel. WTI oil looked set to slip below both its 50 and 200-day moving averages, which have converged in recent trade due to a narrow range of trading for futures. Oil's 50-day moving average is $49.59 a barrel, while its 200-day moving average is $49.55, according to FactSet data. Technical analysts use trading averages to help assess an asset's short-term and long-term momentum. Fears that OPEC's latest decision to extend its six-month production cuts, begun in January, into the first quarter of 2018, without any additional reductions won't be enough to absorb a global cut of crude and an increased pace of production from U.S. shale producers. Those concerns have been cited as the main reason oil has surged lower. "The market is sending a signal that they were looking from more out of the [OPEC] meeting, maybe a 12 month extension," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. He also said technical factors were at play, with traders repositioning trades as many had already anticipated OPEC's decision to extend its output limits

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