Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

OMCs gain as US-China trade war fears weigh on oil prices

Strait of Singapore REUTERS Henning Gloystein File
Russell Knight | 09 July, 2018, 23:45

For the week ended on July 6, the total number of oil drilling rigs in the USA increased by 5, or by 0.6 percent - to 863 units.

Official data that came out on Thursday, a day later than normal due to the July 4 public holiday, showed inventories at Cushing, the delivery point for US crude futures, fell to their lowest in 3-1/2 years.

Trump's trade war with China - which like the Iran conflict was predicated on the not entirely inaccurate argument that the USA was getting the short end of the stick with regards to business relations - is another example in which pundits are predicting rough road ahead, despite compelling arguments from minority voices that the dispute will eventually resolve in the Americans' favour.

According to the latest estimates, American crude shipments to China are around 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), worth $1 billion a month at current prices.

The discount has halved to $5.54 a barrel on Friday from $11.57 in early June. That could lure India to take more USA crude, Fielden said. "I do expect that at least over the next few weeks, the Brent-WTI spread is going to narrow".

Even if the USA government grants some waivers to allies, FGE estimated 1.7 to 2 million bpd of crude and condensate would be cut out of markets once its sanctions are implemented.

In addition to reducing the price of its August barrels, Saudi Arabia also told the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it increased production by nearly 500,000 barrels per day last month.

Oil prices initially fell on Friday, along with Asian stock markets.

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"Increased Saudi crude availability that is being enhanced by reduced OSPs (official selling prices) into Europe and other regions is providing a strong counter against curtailed Libyan export activities", Ritterbusch wrote.

US markets also garnered support from a government employment report showing better-than-expected growth in jobs. Although there is some general nervousness over the U.S.

Oil prices dipped on Friday in a nervous market ahead of a raft of import tariffs expected to be imposed later in the day by the world's two biggest economies, the United States and China, Reuters reports.

Extra output is needed because oil demand has been rising fast this year and supply from several parts of the world, including Venezuela and Libya, has been falling.

Oil benchmarks went in different directions again on Friday afternoon, with WTI trading up and Brent trading down as fears of the escalating U.S.

USA producers continued to bring more rigs into oilfields already producing at record levels.

The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago as energy companies have ramped up production in response to higher prices.

The oil and gas rig count now stands at 1,052-up 100 from this time past year.

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