* Investors have increasing confidence in oil markets
* Brent, WTI forward curves above $50/b: tmsnrt.rs/2dz0bQH
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE, Oct 7 U.S. oil futures held above $50
per barrel on Friday as the entire crude forward curve pushed
above above that level in a sign that financial markets have
increasing confidence in the sector.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures
settled at $50.44 per barrel on Thursday - the first settlement
above $50 since June 24 - and were trading on Friday up three
cents at $50.47 per barrel at 0123 GMT.
International Brent crude futures already moved over
$50 at the start of this week, and were trading at $52.51 per
barrel at 0123 GMT on Friday, flat with their last settlement.
With both front-month contracts above $50 per barrel and
each forward curve in contango, in which contracts for future
delivery are more expensive than those for immediate sale, the
entire crude futures complex has moved back over $50 per barrel.
"There is still no end in sight for the current bullish run.
Speculators have been buying every short-term dip, a strategy
that has evidently been working very well so far," said Fawad
Razaqzada, market analyst at futures brokerage Forex.com.
"This trend could well continue for some yet as after all
crude oil's fundamental outlook continues to improve: as well as
the planned OPEC oil output cut, we have seen surprise inventory
destocking in the U.S. for five straight weeks now.
Consequently, U.S. oil stocks have now fallen below 500 million
barrels for the first time since January," he added.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
plans to agree on a coordinated production cut when it next
meets in late November, in a bid to rein in a global fuel supply
overhang that has dogged prices for the last two years.
"OPEC kept the heat on oil prices overnight. The Algerian
Energy Minister saying that OPEC could cut by more than the 0.5
million barrels per day initial agreement," said Jeffrey Halley
of brokerage OANDA in Singapore.
"More significantly representatives of both OPEC and
Non-OPEC producers will meet for a tete-a-tete on the sidelines
of yet another energy conference next week."
Despite the increasing confidence by financial oil traders
in higher prices, the physical market remains relatively weak.
In a sign of ongoing oversupply and price competition
between producers, top exporter Saudi Arabia cut its benchmark
crude prices to Asia this week, and analysts at JBC Energy
warned that there was "a growing disconnect between the physical
and the financial (oil) market" which would eventually have to
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Richard Pullin)