Worries over increased global supply will remain at the forefront of the oil market in the week ahead, after prices logged their third straight weekly loss amid emerging evidence of oversupply, despite Saudi Arabia's pledge to hold off flooding the market with crude.
Saudi Arabia's OPEC Governor Adeeb Al-Aama said in a statement Thursday that the kingdom expects crude exports to fall by about 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) in August as it limits excess production.
He added that concerns the oil cartel and its allies could oversupply the market with more output are “without basis."
Those comments came after OPEC figures released earlier this month showed Saudi output in June rose to levels not seen since 2016. The world's top oil exporter and OPEC's biggest producer pledged last month it would raise output to make up for lost supplies out of Libya, Venezuela and Iran.
Fresh weekly data on U.S. commercial crude inventories on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise will capture the market's attention.
U.S. oil production reached 11 million bpd for the first time last week. The country has added nearly 1 million bpd in production since November, thanks to rapid increases in shale drilling.
However, the U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by 5 to 858 last week, according to oilfield services firm Baker Hughes. The rate of growth has slowed over the past month or so with a decline in crude prices from late May through late June.
U.S. benchmark oil, September West Texas Intermediate WTI crude, settled at $68.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange by close of trade on Friday.
It lost around 0.8% for the week, marking its third straight weekly loss.
Elsewhere, September Brent crude, the global benchmark, finished the week at $73.07 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Brent suffered a weekly loss of 3%, also its third-weekly fall in a row.
Fears that an escalating trade spat between Washington and Beijing could hit demand, particularly if Chinese growth is affected, also weighed.
Oil prices are down 8% so far this month amid growing indications of higher production from Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as Russia and the United States.
Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of the main events likely to affect the oil market.
Tuesday, July 24
The American Petroleum Institute is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
Wednesday, July 25
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil stockpiles.
Friday, July 27
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.