Oil Prices Fall After Three-Day Rally

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West Texas Intermediate for May delivery rose 25 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to US$50.60 a barrel at on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

JBC Energy said given that prices have been bobbing in a narrow range, the growth in USA oil-drilling activity seen so far this year may lose steam over the next few months. They had slid last week to the lowest since November as increasing American supplies countered output cuts by other producers. Record high US stocks have led speculators to cut holdings of USA crude oil futures and options to the lowest since December.

Investors are waiting to see if OPEC decides to extend its production curbs into the second half of the year and whether adherence to the deal remains so high.

"Underpinning the US inventory numbers was a turn in the industrial data, indicating the seasonal ramp in refiner capacity is accelerating", said Chris Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at Macro Risk Advisors. "The initial liquidation in net long positions is a concern; it reflects weaker market confidence in oil prices, amid rising US shale investment and production", said Cailin Birch, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Total volume traded was similar to the 100-day average.

Brent for May settlement, which expires Friday, was 4 cents higher at $52.46 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract gained $0.84 to $50.35 on Thursday, closing above $50 for the first time since March 8. Prices advanced $1.09, or 2.1 percent, to $52.42 on Wednesday.

Ford Recalls 52000 Pickups That Can Roll Away
Even more alarming is the issue the trucks are being recalled for: there's the possibility they could roll away while parked. So far, the company says they have received only 29 reports of such fires in the USA and Canada, with no related injuries.

U.S. crude stocks rose 867,000 barrels to a record of almost 534 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

EIA reported last week that stockpiles rose 900,000 barrels to a record 534 million barrels for the week ended March 24. Distillates, which include diesel and heating oil, declined 2.5 million barrels.

U.S. crude production during the month rose 60,000 barrels per day, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a monthly report released Friday. It was the biggest weekly increase since June 2014.

But the Kingdom is putting the onus for extending the Vienna agreement entirely on Russian Federation: the Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council commitment is conditional on clear evidence Russian Federation has reached at least 250,000 barrels per day of the promised 300,000 barrels per day in output cuts by the time of the next meeting of the five-nation joint technical committee on April 21 ... Analysts said OPEC's first accord on supply curbs since 2008 could be challenged by poor adherence from participants outside the group, even as OPEC states have been broadly compliant.