MTECHTIPS;-Oil stays lower despite signs of OPEC deal compliance

MTECHTIPS;-Oil stays lower despite signs of OPEC deal compliance

MTECHTIPS;-Oil prices held on to overnight losses during North American morning hours on Monday, despite signs that major crude producers are adhering to planned output cuts. Crude oil for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 40 cents, or around 0.7%, to $53.48 a barrel by 8:25 AM ET (13:25 GMT). Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London slipped 46 cents, or about 0.8%, to $56.25 a barrel. In its monthly oil market report released earlier, OPEC said its members pumped 32.14 million barrels per day in January, down 890,200 barrels per day from December, making a strong start to implementation of its first production cut in eight years. The largest contributor to the output reduction was Saudi Arabia with data showing that it trimmed a hefty 496,200 barrels per day of production last month. January 1 marked the official start of the deal agreed by OPEC and non-OPEC member countries such as Russia in November last year to reduce output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day to 32.5 million for the next six months. Despite the compliance with the production cuts, market participants remained concerned about the ramp up in U.S. drilling activity. Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes said late Friday that the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. increased by 8 last week, the 14th gain in 15 weeks. That brought the total count to 591, the most since October 2015, underlining concerns that the ongoing rebound in U.S. shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to re balance global oil supply and demand

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