Friday, 19 April, 2019

Oil prices rise 1 percent on tightening crude supply, upbeat economic data

OPEC projects to tighter oil market in 2019 WTI: Downside opening up towards $ 63.50 amid rising US supplies
Russell Knight | 14 April, 2019, 23:12

London-traded, the global benchmark for oil, was up 66 cents, or 1%, at $71.49.

The combined supply cuts have helped to drive a 32 percent rally in crude prices this year to almost $72 a barrel, prompting pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump for OPEC to ease its market-supporting efforts.

"Pressure to global supplies continues to mount because of sanctions-linked problems in Iran and Venezuela and rising geopolitical risk in Libya", said Stephen Innes, head of trading at SPI Asset Management.

In its monthly oil market report, OPEC estimates demand for its crude to average 30.30 million barrels per day in 2019, a fall of 1.05 million bpd on the year, signifying that oil inventories are going to decline sharply, pointing to a very tight market.

Crude futures rose again on Friday, heading for a sixth-straight week of gains, as threats of a wipeout in Libyan crude supply bolstered an already squeezed market.

"Oil prices at $70/bbl for Brent are less comfortable for consumers than they were at the start of the year", the reports says.

The International Energy Agency said on Thursday that Venezuelan crude production has dropped below 1 million bpd to 870,000 bpd due to US sanctions, and Iranian supply could fall further after May if Washington tightens its sanctions against Tehran, as many experts anticipate.

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OPEC, Russia and other non-member producers are reducing output by 1.2 million bpd from January 1 for six months.

OPEC and its allies are expected meet in June to decide whether to continue withholding supply.

Russian Federation and OPEC may decide to boost production to fight for market share with the United States but this would push oil prices as low as $40 per barrel, TASS news agency сited Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as saying on Saturday.

The report also said that Angola was one of China's three largest oil suppliers, together with Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, with shares of 11.3%, 15.2% and 14.6% in February, respectively.

Libya, which is also exempt from the deal, pumped 1.098 million bpd in March, up 196,000 bpd from the previous month, but output remains at risk as the country is on the brink of a possible civil war.

In 2018 OPEC+ chose to increase output at its mid-year meeting, only to return to production cuts in 2019.

Two days ago, OPEC reported Venezuela's March output sank to 732,000 bpd, citing independent sources, while figures provided by the country put production at 960,000 bpd.

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