Oil prices fell in early Asian trade after a strong two-day rally that was fed by easing concerns Britain would leave the European Union after a referendum this week, allowing market participants to focus on supply issues. Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports also dropped despite high production levels, suggesting demand remains in a deficit to supply.
US crude’s expiring July front-month contract was down 18 cents at $49.19 a barrel at 0046 GMT. The more actively traded August contract, the new front-month from June 22, was down 19 cents at $49.77. That contract settled up nearly 3 per cent at $49.96 on June 20.
Brent crude futures’ August front-month contract was down 31 cents at $50.34 a barrel.
On June 20 it rose $1.48, or 3 percent, to $50.65 a barrel. The contract has risen about 7 per cent since June 16’s settlement, after falling 10 percent in six previous sessions.
Saudi Arabia’s crude exports in April fell to 7.444 million barrels per day from 7.541 million bpd in March, official data showed on June 20.
The world’s largest oil exporter and OPEC heavyweight produced 10.262 million bpd in April, compared with 10.224 million bpd a month earlier, the data showed.
Potentially adding to supply, Iran has increased its crude exports capacity at its main terminal on Kharg Island to allow eight tankers to load simultaneously, the oil ministry’s news agency Shana reported on June 20.
Following upgrades to infrastructure over the past two years eight tankers can berth at the terminal’s eastern harbour, with one more vessel able to load ship-to-ship cargo at the same time.