Crude Oil Prices – Weekly Outlook: March 12 – 16

© Reuters.  Crude oil prices score a gain for the week © Reuters. Crude oil prices score a gain for the week

Investing.com – Oil prices rallied sharply on Friday, scoring a weekly gain, as traders cheered data showing the number of U.S. oil rigs fell for the first time in seven weeks, pointing to a potential slowdown in domestic oil output.

Improved appetite for risk-sensitive assets in the wake of strong U.S. jobs data and news of a potential U.S.-North Korea meeting also contributed to oil’s price rise.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for April delivery surged $1.92, or 3.2%, to close at $62.04 a barrel.

The U.S. benchmark slipped to a three-week low of $59.95 on Thursday, as investors worried over soaring U.S. output levels.

Meanwhile, May Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., jumped $1.88, or roughly 3%, to settle at $65.49 a barrel.

For the week, WTI crude rose 1.3%, while Brent gained 1.7%.

The number of oil drilling rigs fell by four to 796 last week, General Electric (NYSE:GE)’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

That marked the first such decline in seven weeks, suggesting the possibility of a fall in future output.

That came after data on Wednesday showed U.S. oil production, driven by shale extraction, rose to an all-time high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), staying above Saudi Arabia’s output levels and within reach of Russia, the world’s biggest crude producer.

Analysts and traders have recently warned that booming U.S. shale oil production could potentially derail OPEC’s effort to end a supply glut.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, have been restraining production by 1.8 million bpd to curb the market of excess supply. The arrangement, which was adopted last winter, expires at the end of 2018.

In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise.

Oil traders will also focus on monthly reports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties and the International Energy Agency to assess global oil supply and demand levels.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is to issue a monthly update on shale-oil production levels

Tuesday

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.

Wednesday

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties will publish its monthly assessment of oil markets.

Later on, the U.S. EIA is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.

Thursday

The International Energy Agency will release its monthly report on global oil supply and demand.

The U.S. government will publish a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.

Friday

Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.

US Crude Oil Futures near 1-Week High

Market Realist

US crude oil futures 

April WTI crude oil futures contracts rose 2.2% to $62.57 per barrel on March 5, 2018—the highest settlement since February 27, 2018. Brent crude oil futures contracts rose 1.8% to $65.5 per barrel on March 5, 2018.

The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) and the Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE) rose ~1.1% and ~1.3%, respectively, on March 5, 2018. These funds have exposure to upstream energy companies.

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Crude oil and ETFs’ performance 

Crude oil prices rose on March 5, 2018, due to the expectation of a fall in Cushing crude oil inventories, supply outages in Libya, strong demand, and ongoing supply cuts.

However, US crude oil prices declined ~2% on February 26–March 5, 2018. Prices declined due to the larger-than-expected rise in US oil inventories, an unexpected rise in gasoline inventories, and record US oil production.

The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) and the VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) decreased 0.1% and 2.1%, respectively, on February 26–March 5, 2018. XLE and VDE declined 2.2% and 2%, respectively, during the same period. XOP outperformed the other energy ETFs. These ETFs have exposure to oil and gas companies.

Crude oil inventory report  

On March 7, 2018, the EIA will release its crude oil inventory report. Bloomberg estimates that US oil inventories could have increased by 2.5 million barrels on February 23–March 2, 2018. A larger-than-expected increase in US crude oil inventories could pressure oil prices. 

Crude Oil Prices – Weekly Outlook: Feb. 12 – 16

 
© Reuters. Oil prices drop nearly 10% for the week, worst loss in almost two years © Reuters. Oil prices drop nearly 10% for the week, worst loss in almost two years

Investing.com – Oil prices finished lower for a sixth straight session on Friday to tally their worst weekly loss in two years, as investors continued to fret over soaring U.S. output levels.

Steep losses in the global stock market this week and a strengthening dollar also contributed to oil’s losses.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for March delivery sank $1.95, or around 3.2%, to close at $59.20 a barrel. It fell to its worst level since Dec. 22 at $58.07 earlier in the session.

Meanwhile, April Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., tumbled $2.02, or roughly 3.1%, to settle at $62.79 a barrel, after it touched a more than nine-week low of $61.77 earlier in the day.

For the week, WTI crude lost roughly 9.6%, which was the biggest such decline since January 2016, while Brent gave up about 8.5%.

The number of oil drilling rigs jumped by 26 to 791 last week, General Electric (NYSE:GE)’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

That marked a third straight week of increases and the largest weekly rise in more than a year, implying that further gains in domestic production are ahead.

That came after data on Wednesday showed U.S. oil production, driven by shale extraction, rose to an all-time high of 10.25 million barrels per day (bpd). That figure is above that of top exporter Saudi Arabia and within reach of Russia’s output levels.

That added to fears that rising U.S. output would dampen OPEC’s efforts to rid the market of excess supplies.

The producer group, along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Among other energy contracts, March gasoline futures slumped 6.4 cents, or 3.6%, to end at $1.700 a gallon on Friday, with prices suffering a weekly loss of around 9.2%.

Heating oil for March edged down 6.6 cents, or 3.4%, to $1.855 a gallon, posting a weekly drop of around 9.7%.

Meanwhile, natural gas futures plunged 11.3 cents, or 4.2%, to $2.584 per million British thermal units, its lowest finish since late February 2017, for a weekly decline of 9.2%.

In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise.

Oil traders will also focus on monthly reports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties and the International Energy Agency to assess global oil supply and demand levels.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties will publish its monthly assessment of oil markets.

Tuesday

The International Energy Agency will release its monthly report on global oil supply and demand.

Later in the day, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.

Wednesday

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.

Thursday

The U.S. government will also publish a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.

Friday

Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.

Crude Oil Prices Struggle, Gold May Return to the Offensive

NASDAQ

DailyFX.com –

Talking Points:

  • Crude oil prices struggle to find fuel to break range boundaries
  • Gold prices may return to the offensive following a brief pause
  • Haggling over US tax cut plan may inspire week-end volatility

Crude oil prices corrected gently higher but didn’t to make significant progress outside of recent ranges. Baker Hughes rig count data as well as ICE and CFTC speculative sentiment statistics are due out, but these are rarely market-moving. That makes continued consolidation likely into the week-end.

Gold prices paused to digest gains as expected following a sharp surge in the aftermath of the FOMC monetary policy announcement. A quiet data docket Friday hints the path of least resistance might favor the upside as “fade the Fed” dynamics re-emerge .

Politics may complicate things however as Congressional Republicans delay until Monday a tax cut plan reconciling proposals from the Senate and the House of Representatives. That’s after two senators planned to oppose it, with two more undecided. That’s two possibly lost votes too many to assure passage.

The absence of top-tier scheduled event risk might put the spotlight on Washington DC horse-trading. Headlines suggesting the voting math will work after all may stoke risk appetite, sending yields higher and hurting gold. A confirmed breakdown will probably produce the opposite result.

What are the long-term drivers of crude oil price trends? See our guide to find out!

GOLD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS – Gold prices continue to eye resistance at 1264.92, the 23.6% Fibonacci expansion, with a daily close above that targeting the 38.2% level at 1282.61. Alternatively, a turn below the 14.6% Fib expansion at 1241.36 exposes the December 12 low at 1236.32, followed by the 23.6% expansion at 1230.45.

Crude Oil Prices Struggle, Gold May Return to the Offensive Chart created using TradingView

CRUDE OIL TECHNICAL ANALYSIS – Crude oil prices remain stuck in what is increasingly looking like a Triangle chart pattern. That setup typically precedes trend continuation, which is a bullish sign in this case. A daily close above the Triangle top (58.42) exposes the 23.6% Fibonacci expansion at 59.83. Alternatively, a push below the formation’s bottom (56.20) targets the 23.6% Fib retracement at 55.04.

Crude Oil Prices Struggle, Gold May Return to the Offensive Chart created using TradingView

— Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com

Brent crude jumps to highest since mid-2015 after North Sea pipeline outage

CNBC

  • Brent oil prices jumped 1.5 percent on Tuesday to their highest since mid-2015
  • Britain’s Forties oil pipeline was closed for repairs after several cracks were revealed
  • The jump in Brent prices widened its premium to WTI prices

Oil jack pumps are pictured in the Kern River oil field in Bakersfield, Calif.

Jonathan Alcorn | Reuters
Oil jack pumps are pictured in the Kern River oil field in Bakersfield, Calif.

Brent oil prices jumped 1.5 percent on Tuesday to their highest since mid-2015, after the shutdown of the Forties North Sea pipeline knocked out significant supply from a market already tightening due to OPEC-led production cuts.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices,were at $65.63 a barrel at 0556 GMT, up 94 cents, or 1.5 percent, from their last close.

That marks the first time Brent has risen above $65 since June, 2015.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $58.41 a barrel, up 42 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last settlement.

“Brent crude raced higher … as news broke that the North Sea’s Forties Pipeline system would have to be shut down for a ‘number of weeks’ after a hairline crack was found in it,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore. “The pipeline … is a significant component underpinning the Brent benchmark.”

Britain’s Forties oil pipeline, the country’s largest at a capacity of 450,000 barrels per day (bpd), shut down on Monday after cracks were revealed.

“The market reaction shows that in a tight market, any supply issue will quickly be reflected in higher prices,” said ANZ bank.

Going wide

The jump in Brent prices widened its premium to WTI prices to over $7 a barrel, the highest premium since May 2015 and up from around $5 last week, making U.S. oil exports more attractive.

Cheaper WTI is also a result of rising U.S. oil production, which has jumped by more than 15 percent since mid-2016 to 9.71 million bpd, levels not seen since the early 1970s.

U.S. production is now also not far off that of top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The rising U.S. output threatens to undermine efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-OPEC producers, most importantly Russia, to support prices by withholding supplies.

OPEC and its allies started withholding supplies last January and currently plan to continue doing so throughout 2018.