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Indications of overheated market send oil down after three-year highs

Oil prices took a tumble after attaining record highs in three years today based on the notion that a rise of 13% since the beginning of December has run out of steam, but an unexpected slump in US output and decreased crude inventories gave some help to prices.

US WTI futures dipped to $63.46 per barrel this morning, 11 cents down from the previous settlement, but that is not far from $63.67, the level of December, 2014, attained yesterday.

Brent futures fell to $69.05 for a barrel, 15 cents loss, though it is near yesterday’s $69.37 per barrel, the biggest result since an occasional peak in May, 2015.

The oil market also feels the tide could be turning, with such large producers as Iran and Iraq lowering supply prices in the week to be able to compete.

Until recently the oil markets have been mainly propped up by an output reduction initiated by OPEC and Russia that began in January, 2017 and is scheduled to go on all through 2018.

Some more momentary help for prices emerged suddenly from the US, as data showed crude inventories dwindled by around 5 mln barrels over the week to January 5, now making up 419.5 mln barrels. This is just a little less than the average of 5 years – 420 mln barrels.

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