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WTI oil futures rise above $52 on hopes for reduced U.S. output

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Shutterstock photo - - West Texas Intermediate oil futures rose for the fourth consecutive session on Tuesday amid speculation an ongoing collapse in rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. will result in lower production.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for May delivery tacked on 46 cents, or 0.89%, to trade at $52.37 a barrel during European morning hours. A day earlier, Nymex oil advanced 27 cents, or 0.52%, to close at $51.91.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Monday that U.S. shale oil output was expected to record its first monthly decline in over four years next month. The EIA expects U.S. shale production to fall by 57,000 barrels per day in May from April.

U.S. oil futures have been well-supported in recent sessions amid mounting expectations that U.S. shale oil production has peaked and may start falling in the coming months.

According to industry research group Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by 42 last week to 760, the lowest since December 2010. It was the 18th straight week of declines and the largest drop in a month.

Market players have been paying close attention to the shrinking rig count in recent months for signs it will eventually reduce the glut of crude flowing into the market.

Oil traders looked ahead to fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products to gauge the strength of demand in the world's largest oil consumer.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its inventories report later in the day, while Wednesday's government report could show crude stockpiles rose by 3.8 million barrels in the week ended April 10.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 482.4 million barrels as of April 3, the most in at least 80 years.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for June delivery tacked on 43 cents, or 0.74%, to trade at $59.48 a barrel. On Monday, London-traded Brent prices rose 9 cents, or 0.15%, to settle at $59.04.

Investors continued to assess the impact of an Iranian nuclear deal on global supplies.

Market experts largely estimated that a ramp-up in Iranian crude exports could take several months after Western powers negotiated a tentative nuclear deal with Tehran earlier in the month.

Meanwhile, the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $7.11 a barrel, compared to $7.13 by close of trade on Monday.

Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.05% to trade at 99.79 early on Tuesday.

Demand for the greenback remained broadly supported by expectations for higher interest rates, as investors regained confidence that the U.S. economy would continue to recover after recent economic reports pointed to a slowdown at the start of the year.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on retail sales and producer prices.

Traders also looked ahead to the release of first-quarter gross domestic product figures out of China on Wednesday.

The data is expected to show the world's second largest economy grew 7.0%, slowing from 7.3% in the preceding quarter. Beijing has set a growth target of "around 7.0%" in 2015 after the economy grew 7.4% in 2014, the slowest pace in 24 years.

The U.S. and China are the world's two largest oil consuming nations. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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