* Saudi Arabia says its production has fallen below 10
* But doubts linger over extent of broad producer cuts
* Rising U.S. shale output to counter planned OPEC curbs
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE, Jan 13 Oil prices were steady on
Friday, supported by reports on details of OPEC output cuts,
although lingering doubts over producer compliance with supply
reduction targets weighed on the market.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were
trading at $53.01 per barrel at 0052 GMT, unchanged from their
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil
prices, were yet to trade.
Traders said that prices received some support from
statements from top crude exporter Saudi Arabia that its output
had fallen below 10 million barrels per day (bpd), a level last
seen in February 2015.
That would also mean that the kingdom has cut production
more than the 486,000 bpd it agreed to late last year under a
global deal to curb production and stem a fall in oil prices.
However, hard evidence of deep supply reductions to
customers has yet to emerge two weeks into January, when the
planned cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC) and other producers like Russia are supposed to
"The direction of prices will depend greatly on producer
compliance with pledged supply cuts made in 2016," said French
bank BNP Paribas.
"The market has rallied since the end of 2016, more on faith
than fact, following OPEC and selected non-OPEC countries
announcing output cuts for the first 6 months of 2017. Any slip
in the market's confidence that producers will follow through on
their promises may lead to a sharp price corrections," it added.
The bank said that it expects WTI prices averaging $56 per
barrel in 2017, up $7 from its previous forecast, and Brent to
average $58 per barrel, up $8 a barrel from its earlier
Dutch bank ABN Amro said in its January outlook that
"conflicting signals" would likely keep oil prices trading in
narrow ranges during the first half of the year.
"For one thing, the recent agreement reached by the OPEC
members as well as several non-OPEC oil producers to cut output
has ... not everyone convinced of the resolve of these
producers," it said.
"This means that the oil price could advance further if the
targeted cuts are actually achieved," ABN Amro said, but added
that rising output from U.S. shale producers as well as OPEC
members Nigeria and Libya, which were exempt from the cuts,
might offset any supply reductions.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford)