Oil down 3 percent on OPEC output hike, speculative ramp-up in Brent
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell about 3 percent on Monday as production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries neared all-time peaks and record speculative buying in global benchmark Brent sparked profit-taking on last month's outsized rally.
OPEC's crude production climbed in April to 32.64 million barrels per day, close to the highest in recent history, a Reuters survey showed.
Iraq's April exports from southern fields increased, as did seaborne exports from Russia, the biggest exporter outside OPEC.
Traders also cited market intelligence firm Genscape's report of a 821,969 barrel rise in stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures during the week to April 29.
Brent's new front-month contract, July LCOc1, settled down $1.54, or 3.3 percent, at $45.83 per barrel, hitting a session low at $45.72.
WTI CLc1 closed down $1.14 cents, or 2.5 percent, at $44.78 a barrel, after hitting an intraday low at $44.54.
"Our high side parameters for both WTI and Brent have been achieved and we would strongly suggest against purchases anywhere across the energy spectrum, especially off the weekly EIA data," said Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will issue on Wednesday weekly supply-demand data on oil. Cushing stockpiles aside, U.S. crude inventories as a whole likely rose by 1.4 million barrels last week, a Reuters poll of analysts found. Continued...