Oil prices decline amid falling bullish bets

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan New York

Oil prices decline amid falling bullish bets

Brent crude futures LCOc1 slipped 54 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $64.95 per barrel.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading down 0.6% at $61.70 a barrel.

CNBC noted that hedge funds and money managers have pared their bullish wagers on WTI, with long positions falling last week for the first time in three weeks; meanwhile, gross short positions (bets that prices will fall) on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed to their highest level in almost a month.

U.S. crude production from major shale formations is expected to rise by 131,000 bpd in April from the previous month to a record 6.95 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly report on Monday.

Crude prices had risen on Friday and earlier on Monday after the US economy added the biggest number of jobs in more than 1-1/2 years in February.

Despite the lower rig count, which is an early indicator of future output, activity remains much higher than a year ago.

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The U.S. economy added the biggest number of jobs in more than 1-1/2 years in February, with non-farm payrolls jumping by 313,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday.

A difference of opinion between members the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries over whether higher oil prices could stimulate USA shale output and crash the market spilled out into the open at the weekend.

"Oil prices moved lower. after (the) Energy Information Administration published a report that crude production from seven major US shale plays is expected to see a climb", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

The US has become the world's second-largest crude oil producer, ahead of top exporter Saudi Arabia.

That is more than top exporter Saudi Arabia producers and almost as much as Russian Federation pumps out, at nearly 11 million bpd.

On Sunday, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said OPEC could agree in June to begin easing current production curbs in 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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