Oil dives, U.S. crude below $50 for first time in 2 weeks


UPDATE 7-Oil dives, U.S. crude below $50 for first time in 2 weeks

* Russian energy min won't say if would join new OPEC cuts
    * Oil on track for biggest weekly drop in a month
    * U.S. adds rigs for the 14th consecutive week

 (Adds quote, adds context, updates bullets, updates prices,
adds data)
    By Julia SimonNEW YORK, April 21 (Reuters) - Oil prices tumbled more than
2 percent on Friday, on track for the biggest weekly drop in a
month, on renewed concerns that increasing U.S. production and
high inventories will thwart OPEC's attempts to reduce the
global crude glut.
    U.S. crude futures fell below $50 a barrel for the first
time in two weeks, with volumes picking up in an active session
that by late afternoon showed more than 560,000 front-month
contracts changing hands, more than the daily average.
    Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, key members of the Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries, favor extending their
production-limiting deal with non-member producers into the
second half of the year. [nL8N1HS1D7]
    An OPEC and non-OPEC technical committee on Friday
recommended that the agreement be extended, even though the
market is concerned about the pace of inventory
decline.[nL8N1HT4UA] [nL1N1HS1G4]
    Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak declined to say
whether Russia would adhere to an extension, saying global
stocks were declining.[nL3N1HT2JR]
    On May 25OPEC and non-OPEC members will decide whether to
extend cuts of almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). Bjarne
Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at Nordic bank SEB, does
not expect OPEC to roll over its cuts, saying it could
potentially leave the cartel vulnerable to "more stimulus of the
U.S. shale oil sector."
    U.S. production, already at its highest since August 2015,
looks to keep rising, as U.S. drillers added rigs for a 14th
consecutive week, Baker Hughes said on Friday.
    U.S. crude futures <CLc1> were at $49.45 a barrel, down 2.5
percent, or $1.26 as of 1:52 p.m. EDT (1752 GMT), on course for
the biggest weekly decline since the week ended March 10. Brent
futures <LCOc1> were at $51.83 a barrel, down $1.16, or 2.2
    "Prices in the $40s are not as much an issue for U.S.
producers that have hedged," said Anthony Headrick, energy
market analyst at CHS Hedging. "Conversely, it's a concern for
OPEC in terms of what they want that price to be."
    The Relative Strength Index (RSI), which measures momentum
in asset pricing, fell below 30 for both oil benchmarks for the
first time in almost a month, suggesting an oversold market.
    On Sunday France holds the first round of its presidential
election, where the race has been tight. Robert Yawger, director
of energy futures at Mizuho Americas, said this uncertainty
colors the oil market, even though France is not an oil
    "I would say it's a situation where the spec community is
not willing to ride that long position into the weekend and the
French election," he said.

Murky oil inventory picture leaves market grappling for clarity
CHART: What tighter oil supply?    http://tmsnrt.rs/2pElIP6
 (Additional reporting by Ron Bousso in London, Henning
Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by David Gregorio and Chizu
 ((Julia Simon, julia.simon@thomsonreuters.com, +16462238925))

Keywords: GLOBAL OIL/ (UPDATE 7)

This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Oil , Commodities

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