Oil is hardly changed on supply cut extension

Singapore — Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday after a steep fall in the previous session, supported by extended output cuts by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies despite concerns that a slowing global economy could crimp demand.

An expected large draw in US crude oil inventories also underpinned sentiment after a bigger-than-expected stocks fall in a private survey.

Brent crude futures for September delivery were trading up 36c, or 0.6%, at $62.76 a barrel by 2.44am GMT.

US crude futures for August were up 29c, or 0.5%, at $56.54 a barrel. Both benchmarks fell more than 4% on Tuesday as worries about a slowing global economy overshadowed Opec supply cuts.

Opec and other producers such as Russia, a group known as Opec+, agreed on Tuesday to extend oil supply cuts until March 2020 as members overcame differences to try to prop up prices.

“The Opec+ meeting showed the members sticking together in tough times, characterised by weakening global demand outlook, aiming for a more balanced oil market, despite clear market share implications,” said Amarpreet Singh, an analyst at Barclays Commodities Research.

“This is supportive of oil prices, in our view, even as the market remains squarely focused on weak macro signals.”

US crude inventories

Ahead of government data due later on Wednesday, industry group the American Petroleum Institute said that US crude inventories fell 5-million barrels last week, more than the expected decrease of 3-million barrels.

The Opec+ agreement to extend oil output cuts for nine months should draw down oil inventories in the second half of this year, boosting oil prices, said analysts from Citi Research in a note.

“Keeping cuts through the end of quarter one aims to avoid putting oil into the market during a seasonal low for demand and refinery runs, as well as providing time to assess the impacts of IMO [International Maritime Organisation] 2020,” they said.

Still, signs of a global economic slowdown hitting oil demand growth worried investors after global manufacturing indicators disappointed and the US opened another trade front after threatening the EU with more tariffs to offset government aid to the aviation industry.

Barclays expects demand to grow at its slowest pace since 2011, gaining less than 1-million barrels per day year on year in 2019.

Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, lowered its long-term Brent price forecast on Tuesday to $60 per barrel from $65 per barrel, and said the oil market is broadly balanced in 2019.

Crude prices were also capped by signs of a recovery in oil exports from Venezuela in June and growth in oil production in Argentina in May.


Source: businesslive.co.za