Oil prices slide on worries over US debt ceiling and this weekends OPEC+ meeting

Oil prices fell this week on the back of concerns whether the U.S. Congress will pass the U.S. debt ceiling pact which has rumbled stock markets all week. This, coupled with mixed messages from the major oil producers has clouded the supply outlook ahead of the OPEC+ meeting this weekend which is  fundamental for oil prices.

In the US hard-right Republican lawmakers said they might oppose a deal to raise the debt ceiling in the U.S., the world's biggest oil user. Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy remained optimistic the deal would pass. Biden and McCarthy forged an agreement over the weekend that must pass a divided U.S. Congress before June 5, the day the Treasury Department has said the country will not be able to meet its financial obligations, which could disrupt financial markets. McCarthy on Tuesday urged members of his party to support the deal. read more

"The big elephant in the room is the continued drama over the debt ceiling," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group. " the debt deadline nearly coincides with the June 4 meeting of OPEC+ - the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia. Traders were uncertain about whether the group will increase output cuts as a slump in prices weighs on the market.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman last week warned short-sellers betting that oil prices will fall to "watch out" in a possible signal that OPEC+ may cut output. However, comments from Russian oil officials and sources, including Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, indicate the world's third-largest oil producer is leaning toward leaving output unchanged.

In April, Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC+ announced further oil output cuts of around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), bringing the total volume of cuts by OPEC+ to around 3.66 million bpd.

Chinese manufacturing and service sector data out later this week will also be scrutinised for cues on the fuel demand recovery in the world's top oil importer. In the UK the constant barrage of bad economic news, the likelihood of higher interest rates and a general slowdown in consumer spending all pose potentially negative pressure on oil prices.

As we head into the first week of June and Summer, fuel card users can expect to see a fall of up to .80 pence per litre depending on their card type.


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