Oil prices, on Friday, March 17 slumped as the market seeks clues on how effectively OPEC production cuts are working to absorb a global supply overhang.
Brent crude was down 10 cents, or 0.19 percent, at $51.64 per barrel, as of 0745 GMT, Reuters reports. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) edged down 3 cents, or 0.06 percent, at $48.72 a barrel.
Oil prices fell sharply last week on concerns that production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC members, including Russia, are not cutting a supply overhang as quickly as expected in the face of increased U.S. output.
Official data showed crude inventories in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer, fell last week as imports plunged, dropping after nine consecutive increases.
Crude stockpiles fell by 237,000 barrels in the week to March 10, beating analyst expectations for an increase of 3.7 million barrels.
OPEC and non-OPEC members including Russia reached a landmark agreement last year to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.
But OPEC’s monthly report showed global oil inventories increased in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average.
In a sign that OPEC’s efforts have had little impact, oil shipments to Asia have increased 3 percent since the OPEC supply cut deal was made.