Oil markets’ shaky march toward balance could be derailed

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Oversaturated global oil markets are on a fragile path toward emerging from the supply-demand imbalance that has depressed prices, but that progress is at risk of unraveling as OPEC's compliance with production-limiting targets declines, the International Energy Agency said Friday:

"There would be more confidence that re-balancing is here to stay if some producers party to the output agreements were not, just as they are gaining the upper hand, showing signs of weakening their resolve."

Why it matters: The persistence of the worldwide supply glut that keeps prices at middling levels has created problems for oil-reliant Persian Gulf economies, and affects the output rate and bottom line of U.S. producers, who are forecast to drive production to new records next year.