Monday, 17 December, 2018

Oil extends gains as United States stockpiles decline

Brent Crude Oil Weekly April Brent Crude Oil
Russell Knight | 13 January, 2018, 08:37

Oil prices have hit a three-year high, reaching almost US$70 a barrel, signaling a strengthening outlook for the sector in 2018. Earlier this week, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) reached US$63.7 per barrel, its highest level since December 2014.

The and allies including Russian Federation are keeping supply limits in place in 2018, a second year of restraint, to reduce a price-denting glut of oil held in inventories.

That follows the global benchmark's rally to $70/bbl on Thursday amid a steady run of diminishing USA crude stockpiles and healthy demand.

"Oil prices have been undeniably bullish this week despite the lingering concerns over the current bull rally running out of steam", said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM. The economic analysts are looking for import prices to rise 0.4% compared to 0.7% in November. "It is premature to expect further upside to be sustainable, at least until the market gains a better grasp of the pace of US production growth".

According to online source Finanz, the USA crude oil inventories shrank over the past week, which pushed oil prices higher.

Crude oil production from the United States is expected to increase more than in any other country.

The market has also been buoyed by production curbs led by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Russian Federation, which are set to last until the end of 2018.

Oil prices have risen above Dollars 70 per barrel for the first time since 2014 as investors bet supply cuts led by OPEC will dominate the market this year.

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If prices rise to the lower $50 a barrel range, the number of profitable well sites will grow, causing shale oil production to accelerate.

Brent crude futures were at $69.15 a barrel, 33 cents, or 0.5 per cent, above their last close.

OPEC's aim is to ensure the stabilisation of oil markets.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows that the cost of a barrel was last over $70 on 3 December 2014 when a price of $70.22 was recorded.

If US shale oil producers do fill the void and bring some balance to the market, this would be good news for consumers. The organization reported that oil reserves in the US for the week ended on January 5, decreased by 11.19 million barrels, which is the strongest decline since September 2016.

The OPEC doesn't seem to be interested in oil prices above $60/b.

In a 10 January report the bank said "Oil prices are become increasingly detached from the fundamental data and risk overshooting". U.S. distillate stocks jumped 8.899 million barrels the week ending December 29 to 138.8 million barrels.

What's the Fair Price of Crude Oil Today?

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