The Star Online (12/03/2019) - SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Tuesday, lifted by healthy demand and output cuts led by producer group OPEC.
A rally in broader financial markets also supported crude futures, although analysts still warned of risks to the global economy.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $56.97 per barrel at 0054 GMT, up 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last settlement.
Brent crude futures were at $66.75 per barrel, up 17 cents, or 0.3 percent.
"(Despite economic headwinds), we still see Brent prices averaging $70 per barrel this year and expect WTI to lag, averaging $59 per barrel in 2019," said Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
It said that was partly due to demand for marine diesel expected from next year as part of new fuel rules from the International Maritime Organization.
"With diesel yields already maxed out, refiners may need to lift runs in 2H19 to meet rising demand for marine distillates," it said.
Oil prices have been receiving broad support this year from supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies like Russia aimed at tightening markets.
Traders also pointed to the political and economic crisis in OPEC-member Venezuela as a driver for oil prices.
Venezuela's opposition-run congress on Monday declared a "state of alarm" over a five-day power blackout that has crippled the country's oil exports and left millions of citizens scrambling to find food and water.
Graphic: Venezuela crisis hits oil exports (https://tmsnrt.rs/2NXpv3C)
SURGING U.S. OUTPUT
Offsetting OPEC efforts to tighten the market and disruptions like Venezuela is a surge in U.S. oil supply.
The United States will drive global oil supply growth over the next five years, adding another 4 million barrels per day (bpd) to the country's already booming output, the International Energy Agency said on Monday.
U.S. crude oil output will rise nearly 2.8 million bpd, growing to 13.7 million bpd in 2024 from an average of just under 11 million bpd in 2018, the IEA said, making the United States by far the biggest oil producer in the world.
With U.S. production booming, the country needs to import less and is increasingly turning abroad to sell surplus oil.
"The decrease in net crude oil imports (December, 2018) was driven primarily by lower imports from Saudi Arabia (down 160,000 bpd month-on-month) and higher exports to Asian countries such as South Korea (up 200,000 bpd month-on-month), China (up 90,000 bpd month-on-month) and India (80,000 bpd month-on-month)," Barclays bank said. – Reuters
Oil price up over 1% as Saudi stands by Opec output cuts
NEW YORK: Oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Monday, lifted by comments from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih that an end to OPEC-led supply cuts was unlikely before June.
Brent crude futures were up 84 cents, or 1.28 percent, to settle at $66.58 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 72 cents, or 1.28 percent, to settle at $56.79 a barrel, a 1.28 percent.
Falih told Reuters on Sunday it would be too early to change a production curb pact agreed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia before the group's meeting in June.
"The Saudis continue to take a proactive approach to get supply and demand in better balance," said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.
Oil markets have been supported this year by the ongoing supply cuts by the group called OPEC+, which has pledged to cut 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude supply since the start of the year to prop up prices.
The group will meet on April 17-18, with another gathering scheduled for June 25-26, to discuss supply policy.
OPEC is expected to review global oil demand and supply balance as the group maintains production cuts during the April meeting, a senior Gulf oil official said on Monday.
"We want to see commercial stocks down," the official said on the sidelines of IHS Markit's CERAWeek energy conference.
The official added that global crude and oil products stocks should fall back to a five-year average, a target the group had set to drain a global oil glut.
In addition, a Saudi official said the country planned to cut crude oil exports in April to below 7 million barrels per day.
Prices were also buoyed by U.S. energy services firm Baker Hughes' latest weekly report showing the number of rigs drilling for new oil production in the United States fell by nine to 834.
But the Paris-based International Energy Agency said in an outlook on Monday that crude output in the United States will rise nearly 2.8 million bpd to 13.7 million bpd in 2024 from about 11 million bpd in 2018.
U.S. oil production could become less responsive to crude prices as major oil companies expand operations in the nation's shale fields, IEA officials said at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on Monday.
Markets were pressured after U.S. employment data on Friday raised concerns that an economic slowdown in Asia and Europe was spilling into the United States.
"Brent prices have struggled to push firmly above $65/bbl in part because a strong U.S. dollar remains a major headwind for commodity prices. In addition, global GDP growth has been soft and oil demand has yet to pick up seasonally," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a report.
But citing the OPEC+ cuts and low global stocks, the bank predicted prices for Brent would reach $70 a barrel this year. - Reuters
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/03/12/oil-gains-over-1-percent-as-saudi-stands-by-opec-output-cuts/#zlTkBbqRksvsyzXC.99