Friday, 20 October, 2017

Brent oil price ease back from two-year highs

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Debra Rodriguez | 29 September, 2017, 00:53

After three years of over-supply and a low of $27 p/b, the price of oil has risen sharply in the past 12-18 months.

Last week an Opec meeting said that an agreement to cap production was another important factor helping to reduce the global supply glut.

Sentiment is often a somewhat flighty and nebulous concept, but it appears that crude oil markets are turning increasingly bullish about the prospect for higher prices.

But whether this demand growth is sustainable is also a key uncertainty, with question marks over whether Chinese policy makers will continue with stimulus, or whether they will ease off the infrastructure and construction spending that has driven fuel consumption.

Brent Crude reached a high point of $59.02 barrels per day (bpd) after more than two years averaging between $52.00 and $53.00 bpd. "We have the tap", Erdogan said. "We have the tap".

"The highlight from today's EIA report isn't the larger-than-expected draw to stocks, but the reported cause of this draw", said Troy Vincent, oil analyst with Clipper Data. Ed Morse, global head of commodities at the bank, told Bloomberg that several OPEC countries-Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran, and Iraq-might already be pumping at their maximum capacity.

The state economy in Texas previous year faced headwinds because of weak energy market conditions, but has since shown clear indications of recovery.

The gains in oil prices are also being propelled by China, which is building up its reserves.

Crude inventories fell 1.8 million barrels in the week to September 22, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 3.4 million barrels.

The EIA said last week that U.S. crude stocks jumped 4.6 million barrels as imports increased by 734,000 bpd and production rose 157,000 bpd to 9.51 million bpd, close to levels before Harvey hit Texas on August 25.

Jeffrey Currie, Goldman Sachs' head of global commodities research, said this was in part due to the ability of USA shale producers to raise output despite low prices. The former suggests there is still an oversupply, the latter that stocks are tight. Oil has continued a rally that began in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey that forced the shutdown of many key refineries in the Gulf Coast.

Fuel prices are also rising as USA refineries come back online in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, providing boost to crude prices. That's pretty clear evidence that the global markets need United States supply.

Prices rallied in the third quarter of this year as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers cut output, and as Harvey knocked out large portions of the USA refining industry.

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