Oil hovers near three-month lows as investors await data

Oil hovers near three-month lows as investors await data

TOKYO, March 14 (Reuters) – Crude oil prices hovered near three-month lows on Tuesday in Asian trading, with investors waiting for key reports and data that may shed light on a supply
overhang in the global market.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was up 3 cents at $48.43 a barrel by 0329 GMT. The contract ended down 9 cents in the previous session after touching its lowest since the end of November at $47.90.

Brent crude futures gained 7 cents to $51.42 a barrel, having settled down 2 cents on Monday after dipping as low as $50.85.

Both benchmarks were down slightly earlier in the day.

Prices fell sharply last week as investors worried that swelling U.S. crude supplies would hinder OPEC’s efforts to restrict output and reduce a global glut.

Prices had risen after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major oil producers, including Russia, agreed at the end of November to rein in production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.

“It’s shaping up to be another fun week in the crude complex, with OPEC releasing its monthly oil market report on Tuesday, swiftly followed by the IEA’s monthly oil market report the day after,” Matt Smith, analyst at ClipperData, said in a note.

The International Energy Agency releases its closely watched monthly oil market report on Wednesday.

Data from the industry group the American Petroleum Institute on U.S. crude and product stockpiles is also due out later on Tuesday.

U.S. shale oil production in April was set for its biggest monthly increase since October as output in the Permian Basin, America’s fastest growing shale oil region, was expected to hit another record high, government data showed on Monday.

Still, analysts said the slump may not have much further to go now that prices have fallen more than 8 percent since last Monday, the biggest week-on-week drop in four months.