Political risks may be supporting oil prices, but that’s likely just short term, JP Morgan says

KEY POINTS
  • Oil prices jumped on Monday after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih indicated there was a consensus among OPEC and allied oil producers to continue limiting supply.
  • Still, the current price support is likely short-lived due to the rise of U.S. shale energy, which has shortened the market cycle for oil, according to a J.P. Morgan expert.
  • “It’s difficult to make a case why oil prices materially move up from here,” said Scott Darling, J.P. Morgan’s head of Asia Pacific oil and gas research.

Oil prices jumped on Monday after Saudi Arabia indicated a possible rollover of output curbs amid political supply risks, but that support is likely to be short-lived due to fundamental changes in the energy industry, an expert said on Monday.

“It’s alright to talk about supply-side risks, but that’s sort of near-term … I don’t think expectations for oil prices have actually gone up,” said Scott Darling, J.P. Morgan’s head of Asia Pacific oil and gas research.

That’s because of the rise of U.S. shale energy and slowing demand due to global economic uncertainties, Darling told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” J.P. Morgan expects OPEC to extend its oil output cuts to 2020.

Oil prices jumped on Monday after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih indicated there was a consensus among OPEC and allied oil producers to continue limiting supply.

Falih said the main option discussed at a ministerial panel meeting during the day was for a rollover of the output curbs agreed by OPEC and non-members in the second half of 2019. Still, he said, “things can change by June.”

OPEC, Russia and other non-member producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day from Jan. 1 for six months, a deal designed to stop inventories building up and weakening prices.

Brent crude futures were at $73.23 a barrel at 12:06 p.m. HK/SIN, up $1.02, or 1.4%, from their last close. Brent closed down 0.6% on Friday.

J.P. Morgan’s forecast for Brent crude is $75 per barrel by the end of the second quarter of 2019. For the full year, however, Brent crude will average $71 a barrel for 2019 and will weaken to $60 a barrel from 2021, said Darling.

Darling’s comments come as the market expects Iranian oil exports to drop further in May and Venezuelan shipments could fall again in coming weeks due to U.S. sanctions.

Moreover, tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are running high after last week’s apparent attacks on two Saudi oil tankers off the UAE coast and another on Saudi oil facilities inside the kingdom.

Riyadh accused Tehran of ordering the drone strikes on oil pumping stations, for which Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed responsibility. The UAE has blamed no one for the tanker sabotage. Iran has distanced itself from both sets of attacks.

The attacks come as the United States and Iran spar over Washington’s tightening of sanctions aimed at cutting Iranian oil exports to zero, and an increased U.S. military presence in the Gulf over perceived Iranian threats to U.S. interests.

Still, the current price support is likely short-lived due to the rise of U.S. shale energy, which has shortened the market cycle for oil, according to the J.P. Morgan expert.

“It’s difficult to make a case why oil prices materially move up from here,” said Darling.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

Oil dips on expectations of rising output, China factory and services stutter

CNBC

Reuters

KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude futures were at $71.75 per barrel at 0131 GMT, down 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.
  • U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.35 per barrel, down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent from their previous settlement.
Reusable CNBC: Oil derrick pump jack Midland Texas west Texas 150825-001
Justin Solomon | CNBC

Oil prices dipped on Tuesday on expectations rising output from the United States and producer club OPEC would offset most of the shortfall expected from U.S. sanctions on Iran, but analysts said markets remained tight.

A stutter in China’s factory and servicing industries in April also weighed on crude prices, traders said, as it suggested Asia’s biggest economy is still struggling to regain traction.

Brent crude futures were at $71.75 per barrel at 0131 GMT, down 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.35 per barrel, down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent from their previous settlement.

Oil prices surged by around 40 percent between January and April, lifted by supply cuts led by the Middle East-dominated producer club of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as by U.S. sanctions on producers Iran and Venezuela.

But prices came under downward pressure late last week after U.S. President Donald Trump openly pressured OPEC and its de-facto leader Saudi Arabia to raise output to meet the supply shortfall caused by the tightening Iran sanctions.

Stephen Innes, head of trading at SPI Asset Management, said the producer group “will want to avoid at all cost oil prices surging to levels that will trigger demand devastation, (while) it is clearly in OPEC’s best interest to maintain a solid floor on prices.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said “Iranian oil production will fall to 1.9 million barrels per day in 2H19 from 3.6 million barrels per day in 3Q18 as U.S. sanctions kick in and waivers eventually expire.”

Despite this, the bank said it expected “a nearly balanced market in 2019” as output from OPEC and also the United States will rise.

French bank BNP Paribas said it expected oil prices “to rise in the near-term” as crude producers were “over-tightening the market in the face of unplanned supply outages and resilient oil demand”.

The bank said it expected crude markets to climb until the third quarter of 2019, adding that prices would then “start to become vulnerable to a sharp rise in U.S. exports of light crude thanks to pipeline and terminal capacity expansion.”

U.S. exports exceeded 3 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time in early 2019 amid a more than 2 million bpd production surge over the past year, to a record of more than 12 million bpd.

BNP Paribas said it saw WTI averaging $63 per barrel in 2019, up $2 from its previous forecast, while Brent will average $71 per barrel, up $3 from an earlier estimate.

“In 2020, we see WTI averaging $64 per barrel and Brent $68 per barrel,” the bank said.

Oil falls after Trump says he pressed OPEC to make up for Iranian sanctions

CNBC

Reuters

KEY POINTS
  • Oil prices continue to fall after Friday’s sharp pullback.
  • President Donald Trump on Friday said he called OPEC and told the producer group to pump more oil to offset U.S. sanctions on Iran.
  • Oil markets are already tight as OPEC and allies cut supplies and U.S. sanctions curb Iranian and Venezuelan exports.
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A Petrobras oil platform floats in the Atlantic Ocean near Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro.
Getty Images

Oil prices fell on Monday, extending a slump from Friday that ended weeks of rallying, after President Donald Trump claimed that he demanded OPEC raise output to soften the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Brent crude futures were down 14 cents at $72.01 a barrel around 8:35 a.m. ET (1235 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures lost 14 cents to $63.16.

Both benchmarks fell around 3% in the previous session, after Trump said he told OPEC to lower oil prices.

“Gasoline prices are coming down. I called up OPEC, I said you’ve got to bring them down. You’ve got to bring them down,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

“Spoke to Saudi Arabia and others about increasing oil flow. All are in agreement,” the president later tweeted.

The national average U.S. gasoline price is actually still rising, and sources denied that several high-level OPEC and Saudi officials spoke to Trump.

Trump’s remarks triggered a selloff, putting at least a temporary ceiling on a 40 percent price rally in oil prices since the start of the year.

The rally had gained momentum in April after Trump tightened sanctions against Iran by ending all exemptions that major buyers, especially in Asia, previously had.

U.S. sanctions on Venezuela are also working to tighten global supply as fighting in Libya threatens to curb output there as well.

“We are dealing with a market that’s not actually short of supply but is short due to politically-motivated action, and we know how quickly that can be turned around if necessary,” Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen told Reuters.

“Being a bear in the market is a very lonely place now.”

Traders said the market was shifting its focus to the voluntary supply cuts led by OPEC, de facto headed by the world’s top exporter Saudi Arabia.

“We are of the view that Saudi Arabia will increase output as soon as May, something they were likely to do anyway in the lead up to summer,” ING bank said. “The Kingdom could increase output by 500 million barrels per day (bpd) and still be in compliance with the OPEC+ deal for the month of May.”

The cuts have been supported by some non-OPEC producers, notably Russia, but analysts said this cooperation may not last beyond a meeting between OPEC and its other allies, a group known as OPEC+, scheduled for June.

Russia has said it would be able to meet China’s oil demand needs as Beijing tries to replace the imports it usually gets from Iran.

“Russia appears to have every reason to resume ramping up production levels and the base case should start to become (that) we will not see OPEC+ agree upon extending production cuts, with tweaks to cover the shortfall from Iran,” said Edward Moya, senior analyst at futures brokerage OANDA.

— CNBC’s Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.

Oil slips from 2019 highs as economic concerns weigh

CNBC

Reuters

KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude oil futures were at $67.72 per barrel at 0419 GMT, down 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close. Brent hit a four-month high of $68.69 per barrel the day before.
  • U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $59.84 per barrel, down 14 cents, or 0.2 percent from their last settlement. WTI also hit a 2019 peak at $60.39 the previous day.
RT: Offshore oil rig Norway 160211
An offshore oil rig off the coast of Norway.
Nerijus Adomaitis | Reuters

Oil prices eased from 2019 peaks on Friday as economic growth concerns weighed on sentiment, pausing a three-month rally driven by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

Brent crude oil futures were at $67.72 per barrel at 0419 GMT, down 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close. Brent hit a four-month high of $68.69 per barrel the day before.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $59.84 per barrel, down 14 cents, or 0.2 percent from their last settlement. WTI also hit a 2019 peak at $60.39 the previous day.

“Global economic growth still remains a concern,” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

Economic growth has slowed across Asia, Europe and North America, potentially denting fuel consumption.

Oil prices this year have been propped up by supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies such as Russia, often referred to as ‘OPEC+’.

Canadian investment bank RBC Capital Markets said oil was “still below the fiscal breakeven level in a number of OPEC countries,” meaning that many producers have an interest in further propping up the market.

“With the driver of the OPEC bus, Saudi Arabia, showing no signs of wavering in the face of renewed pressure from Washington, we believe that OPEC is likely to extend the deal for the duration of 2019 when they next assemble in Vienna in June, ” RBC said.

RBC said Russia was only a reluctant partner in the supply cuts, but would “ultimately opt to preserve the arrangement and retain a leadership role of a 21-nation group that accounts for around 45 percent of global oil output.”

Beyond OPEC and Russia’s supply policy, oil prices have also been boosted by U.S. sanctions on OPEC-members Iran and Venezuela.

Iranian crude oil shipments have averaged just over 1 million bpd in March, down from 1.3 million bpd in February and a 2018 peak of at least 2.5 million bpd in April, before the U.S. sanctions were announced.

Venezuelan crude oil production has also dwindled amid U.S. sanctions and an internal political and economic crisis, plunging from a high of more than 3 million bpd at the start of the century to not much more than 1 million bpd currently.

Further price increases have also been crimped by a jump of more than 2 million bpd in U.S. crude oil production since early 2018 to a record 12.1 million bpd, making the United States the world’s biggest producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Soaring U.S. output has resulted in increasing exports, which have doubled over the past year to more than 3 million bpd.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that the United States would become a net crude oil exporter by 2021.

Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia cuts supply to United States

CNBC

  • Both U.S. crude futures and international Brent futures saw gains.
  • The price rise came after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday showed a drop in Saudi crude supply to the United States.

A truck used to carry sand for fracking is washed in a truck stop in Odessa, Texas.

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A truck used to carry sand for fracking is washed in a truck stop in Odessa, Texas.

Oil prices rose for a third day on Thursday, pushed up by signs of lower imports into the United States as part of efforts by OPEC to tighten the market.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $54.58 per barrel at 0249 GMT, up 35 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last settlement. WTI closed up 1.7 percent on Wednesday, when prices touched their highest since Nov. 21 at $54.93 a barrel.

International Brent crude oil futures were up 52 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $62.17 per barrel.

The price rise came after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday showed a drop in Saudi crude supply to the United States.

“Crude oil prices were stronger after signs emerged that OPEC cuts are impacting trade. EIA’s weekly report showed that U.S. imports from Saudi Arabia fell by more than half from the previous week to 442,000 barrels per day (bpd). This is the second lowest level in weekly data going back to 2010,” ANZ bank said.

Saudi Arabia is the de-facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which together with some non-OPEC producers, including Russia, announced supply cuts late last year aimed at tightening the market and propping up prices.

Despite these efforts, oil remains in ample supply, not least because of soaring U.S. crude oil production, which jumped by more than 2 million bpd last year to a record 11.9 million bpd.

This shows in high U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles, which rose by 919,000 barrels in the week to Jan. 25, to 445.94 million barrels, EIA data showed. Stockpiles are 6.6 percent higher than a year ago.