Oil Drops After Saudi-Russia Output Revival Plan Rattles Traders

* Supply signal follows concerns high prices will slow demand
* WTI near $67 after biggest loss in almost 11 months on Friday

By Paul Burkhardt and Tsuyoshi Inajima

(Bloomberg) —

Oil in New York headed for its longest run of losses since February after Saudi Arabia and Russia proposed raising production later this year.

Futures slid 1.4 percent on Tuesday after Friday’s 4 percent decline. Saudi Arabia and Russia said OPEC and its partners may boost supply to make up for potential losses from other members, most notably Venezuela and Iran. There was no settlement Monday for West Texas Intermediate because of the U.S. Memorial Day holiday and all trades will be booked Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran and Venezuela’s slumping output drove oil to the highest level in more than three years earlier this month, prompting complaints from consuming nations like India about higher costs. The plan for OPEC and its allies to boost supply once more follows growing concerns that crude prices at current levels will slow demand growth.

“The market was not prepared for OPEC to get ready to return supply that soon,” said Jens Naervig Pedersen, a senior analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen.

Prices Slide

WTI for July delivery fell as much as 3.1 percent to $65.80 a barrel and traded at $66.95 on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 12:09 p.m. in London. Futures are headed for a fifth straight session of declines, the longest such stretch since Feb. 9.

Brent futures for July settlement rose 0.4 percent to $75.72 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after dropping $1.14 on Monday. The global benchmark traded at a $8.75 premium to WTI.

Meanwhile, explorers in the U.S. added 15 oil rigs last week, taking the total to 859, the highest in more than three years, and adding to bearish signals for the market.

“We had a surprise rise in the rig count after a period where there’s been some speculation about bottlenecks in U.S. production limiting the prospect of further output increases,” Pedersen said.

Other oil-market news:

* OPEC and its allies concluded that the crude market re-balanced in April, when their output cuts achieved a key goal of eliminating the global surplus.

* Energy ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwaitplan to meet in Kuwait City on Saturday to discuss OPEC matters, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

* Saudi Arabia and Russia’s proposal to revive production signals supplies are currently tight, and isn’t a bearish development, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts including Damien Courvalin wrote in a report. A gradual implementation of a plan to boost output by 1 million barrels a day would still leave the market in deficit through the third quarter of 2018.

* Subtropical Storm Alberto lost strength as it came ashore near Laguna Beach in Florida, bringing heavy rains that threaten the U.S. south with economic losses of $1 billion.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net;
Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at tinajima@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Pratish Narayanan at pnarayanan9@bloomberg.net
Rakteem Katakey, Stephen Voss