Traders saidoil prices declined on concerns of a slowdown in the global economy after China reported on Wednesday that factory growth in February was at its lowest since July 2016.China is the world´s second-biggest economy and the biggest importer of oil after overtaking the Unites States past year.
Al-Falih's implication that the market could easily go south again is timely given surprising news out of the United Kingdom that for all the talk about aging oil fields, that nation is about to become a net crude oil exporter for the first time in 14 years.
Oil has risen more than 5% this year, following a second annual gain, as a drain in USA stockpiles and growing demand are reassuring investors that production cuts led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are working.
Prices were pressured earlier after three of the world's top consumers of crude - China, India and Japan - reported a slowdown in monthly factory activity.
London Brent crude slipped 3 cents to $67.28 a barrel, after climbing nearly 4 percent last week.
He toldBloomberg television on Monday that oil demand will remain strong through at least 2020, pushing spot costs for crude above futures pricing.
In a related development, the United States will overtake Russian Federation as the world's biggest oil producer by 2019, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol has said.
The crude oil price started 2018 with a BANG, rising from an opening $60 to a January peak of $67, that's a 12% gain in less than 1 month!
Saudi Arabia hopes Opec and its allies will be able to relax production curbs next year and create a permanent framework to stabilize oil markets after the current agreement on supply cuts ends this year, Falih said. In matter of 11 months, crude oil production in the US increased by close to 14%. Both are expected to show a slight fall in US production. The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) releases official data Wednesday morning.
Once the world's largest importer of crude, the USA is passing Saudi Arabia and closing in on Russian Federation to become the world's largest producer.
The nations taking part in the supply curbs are now studying what a crude re-balancing will entail, and will announce their next steps once that's analyzed, according to Saudi Arabia's Al-Falih.
But as far as Francisco Blanch, head of commodities and derivative research at Bank of America, is concerned, we have two years of breathing room before a significant change in the crude market could render al-Falih's plan of global monitoring obsolete.