The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Minas (Indonesia), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that oil futures fell on Friday as oversupply, a strengthening dollar and weaker Asian stock markets dragged on sentiment, but data showing lower U.S. oil output helped put a floor under prices.
Brent crude for June delivery LCOc1 fell 23 cents to $40.10 a barrel as of 0704 GMT. The May contract, which expired on Thursday, settled up 34 cents at $39.60 a barrel. Brent rose 6 percent in the first quarter, its first such increase since a 15 percent rally in the second quarter of 2015.
U.S. crude CLc1 fell 33 cents to $38.01 a barrel after settling up 2 cents on Thursday. Prices rose almost 4 percent over January-March, also the first quarterly gain since surging nearly 25 percent in the second quarter of last year.
Prices have recently pulled back on low trading volumes, concerns about oversupply ahead of an oil producers’ meeting in Doha to agree a possible output freeze on April 17, and a firmer dollar, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at Sydney’s CMC Markets. “There is very little bullishness.”
The dollar index .DXY inched up on Friday, coming off a more than five-month low hit in the previous session. A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Asian oil investors showed little reaction to the release of China’s manufacturing data on Friday, which showed an unexpected expansion in March, the first in nine months.
“The lack of reaction is a bit perplexing. I think the lead will come out of the U.S.,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney’s Ayers Alliance.
China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 50.2 in March, from February’s 49, showing a mild expansion in output and new orders that would normally underpin oil demand.
U.S. non-farm payroll data, to be released later on Friday, will also give direction to oil prices, Barratt said.
As of now, falls in Asian stock markets are putting further pressure on oil prices, he added.
China and Hong Kong stocks fell more than 1 percent on Friday, as S&P’s cut to China’s credit outlook offset any optimism from a pick-up in March manufacturing activity.
But a drop in U.S. crude output is helping check losses in oil prices, CMC’s McCarthy said.
U.S. oil output fell for a fourth straight month in January, to 9.179 million barrels per day – the lowest since October 2014, U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows.