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Oil falls on end to Kuwaiti strike, supply outlook

by April 20, 2016 General

By Simon Falush

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Wednesday as investor focus returned to worries about oversupply after Kuwaiti workers ended a three-day strike that had halved the nation’s crude output.

Industry data showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose last week, reinforcing concerns about the global surplus. Brent futures were down 94 cents at $43.09 a barrel at 0830 GMT.

U.S. crude was down 98 cents, or more than 2 percent, at $40.10, after dipping below $40.

Six supertankers have lined up at Kuwait’s crude export terminal to load oil, and the country has raised its output to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.1 million on Sunday. The country produced 2.8 million bpd at the end of March.

The end of the strike revived the bearish mood brought on by the failure of major producers on Sunday to agree to freeze output and help overcome a market imbalance that has caused a slump in prices since mid-2014.

“Kuwait is moving back to full production, and we expected that oil would come off more after the Doha deal fell apart, so we’re seeing the impact of that now,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodity analyst at SEB in Oslo.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude stocks rose more than anticipated last week.

Crude inventories increased by 3.1 million barrels in the week to April 15 to 539.5 million, the industry group said, compared with analysts’ expectations for a rise of 2.4 million barrels.

Investors will now look to data from the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration for more clues on the outlook for global supplies.

(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson)