March crude oil prices traded lower in overnight action but seemed to reverse course early this morning. Some traders suggested that the outside market tone was in a holding pattern ahead of this morning's US GDP data, with a slightly lower US dollar and flat global stock markets. It seemed that expectations for US fourth quarter growth increased during the December and January time, helped by an improving cycle of economic data, which has also bolstered the demand outlook for crude oil. Thursday's negative turn in prices seemed to be triggered by indications of greater levels of OPEC production. There were comments from a Kuwaiti oil official suggesting that OPEC may need to increase production to prevent higher prices from stifling global growth prospects. These comments were followed by those from IEA's chief at the World Economic Forum, which suggested that Saudi Arabia had already increased output to meet growing demand from India and China. Meanwhile, Brent crude continues to gain on WTI this morning and has approached all time record wide levels.
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