Oil falls more than 1% after Trump urges OPEC not to cut supply

CNBC

  • Oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Tuesday, with benchmark Brent crude slipping below $70 per barrel and U.S. crude under $60.
  • The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump put pressure on OPEC not to cut supply to prop up the market.
  • The U.S.-dollar hovered near 16-month highs on Tuesday, making oil more expensive for importers using other currencies.

Oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Tuesday, with benchmark Brent crude slipping below $70 per barrel and U.S. crude under $60, after U.S. President Donald Trump put pressure on OPEC not to cut supply to prop up the market.

The U.S.-dollar hovered near 16-month highs on Tuesday, making oil more expensive for importers using other currencies.

Brent crude oil futures was down $1.03 at $69.09 per barrel by 0900 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures was $1.00 lower at $58.93. Both benchmarks are down 20 percent since peaking at four-year highs in early October.

“Sky-high production in the U.S., coupled with incremental barrels coming from Saudi Arabia and Russia, is starting to impact oil market balances,” Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analysts said in a note to clients, adding: “Crude oil inventories are starting to increase once again.”

Trump has made it clear he wants oil prices to fall.

“Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!” the president said in a Twitter post on Monday.

That led to a sharp price drop on Monday and the sell-off continued into Tuesday.

“This tweet certainly did not help prices,” ING commodities strategist Warren Patterson said.

Extraction from American shale fields over the last decade has propelled U.S. oil production to record highs this year with crude output now at 11.6 million barrels per day (bpd), helping make the United States self-sufficient in energy.

Merrill Lynch says U.S. crude production will break through 12 million bpd in 2019, supporting oil exports to the rest of the world.

Oil production is not just rising in the United States. Kazakhstan said on Tuesday its oil output rose 4.8 percent to 74.5 million tonnes in the first 10 months of 2018, equivalent to 1.82 million bpd.

Top crude exporter Saudi Arabia has watched with alarm how supply has started to outpace consumption, fearing a repeat of a glut that brought a price crash in 2014.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed there was a need to cut oil supply next year by around 1 million bpd from October levels to prevent oversupply.

Dutch bank ING said an abundance of global supply as well as the threat of economic slowdown meant “cuts over 2019 are unavoidable.”

“It is becoming clearer that as we move closer towards 2019, the market will see a sizeable surplus at least over the first half of 2019,” ING said.

Oil prices fall into bear market on rising supply, economic concerns

CNBC

  • Both Brent and WTI have declined by around 20 percent since seeing four-year highs in early October.
  • One Reuters analyst said Brent could “slip further into a range of $68.59-$69.69 per barrel.”

Oil markets on Friday remained weak as rising supply and concerns of an economic slowdown pressured prices, with U.S. crude now down by around 20 percent since early October.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $65.60 per barrel at 0509 GMT, down 4 cents, or 0.1 percent from their last settlement. WTI is set to fall for a fifth week, down 4.1 percent so far this week.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $70.69 a barrel, 4 cents above their last close. Brent is set for a 2.9 percent drop for the week, its fifth straight week of declines.

Both Brent and WTI have declined by around 20 percent from the four-year highs they reached in early October.

“Oil prices continue to decline and are now officially in a bear market, having declined 20 percent from their (October) peak,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.

Reuters technical commodity analyst Wang Tao said on Friday that “Brent oil may slide further into a range of $68.59-$69.69 per barrel.”

That would be the first time Brent has fallen below $70 since April.

Analysts said the main downward price pressure came from rising supply, despite the U.S. sanctions against Iran that were imposed this week, as well as concerns over an economic slowdown.

“As OPEC exports continue to rise, inventories continue to build which is putting downward pressure on oil prices,” analysts at Bernstein Energy said.

“A slowdown in the global economy remains the key downside risk to oil,” Bernstein added.

The decline in prices over the past weeks follows a rally between August and October when crude rose ahead of the re-introduction of sanctions against Iran’s oil exports on Nov. 5.

The sanctions, however, are unlikely to cut as much oil out of the market as initially expected as Washington has granted exemptions to Iran’s biggest buyers which will allow them to continue buying limited amounts of crude for at least another six months.

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) said on Friday it was continuing to take oil from Iranian oilfields in which it has ownership stakes.

“Our main cooperation with Iran is upstream investment. Lifting equity oil is recouping our investment there,” Hou Qijun, deputy general manager for CNPC, said on the sidelines of an industry event in Shanghai.

Bernstein Energy expects “Iranian exports will average 1.4-1.5 million barrels per day (bpd)” during the exemption period,” down from a peak of almost 3 million bpd in mid-2018.

Oil drops on Iran sanction exemptions, economic concerns

CNBC

  • U.S. sanctions on Iran’s fuel exports were reintroduced on Monday.
  • Washington has granted 180-day exemptions to eight importers, meaning Iran will be allowed to still export some oil for now.

Oil prices slipped on Tuesday, weighed down by exemptions from Washington that will allow Iran’s biggest oil customers to keep buying from Tehran, as well as concerns that an economic slowdown may curb fuel demand growth.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.95 a barrel at 0355 GMT, down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last settlement.

International Brent crude oil futures were down 28 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $72.89 a barrel.

Analysts said expectations of an economic slowdown in coming months were weighing on the fuel demand outlook, while concerns eased on the supply-side after Washington granted eight importers of Iranian oil sanctions waivers that will allow them to continue purchases.

Washington gave 180-day exemptions to eight importers – China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey. These are Iran’s biggest buyers, meaning Iran will be allowed to still export some oil for now.

Jameel Ahmad, head of market research at futures brokerage FXTM said the “sanctions on Iran have been … priced into the oil markets”, and that he would “instead focus more heavily on the global demand outlook because of the ongoing external uncertainties weighing down on economic prospects.”

Ahmad added that he saw a slowdown in economic and fuel demand growth as “more of a risk for oil over the coming months.”

Currency weakness is putting pressure on key growth economies in Asia, including India and Indonesia.

At the same time, the trade dispute between the United States and China is threatening growth in the world’s two biggest economies.

On the supply-side, oil is in ample availability despite the sanctions against Iran as output from the world’s top-three producers, Russia the United States and Saudi Arabia, is rising.

The three countries combined produced more than 33 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time in October, meaning they alone meet more than a third of the world’s almost 100 million bpd of crude oil consumption.

Amid ample supply, top crude exporter Saudi Arabia has cut its December price for its Arab Light grade for Asian customers by 10 cents per barrel versus November to a premium of $1.60 a barrel to the Oman/Dubai average, state oil company Saudi Aramco said on Monday.

The price pressure on oil has scared off financial traders.

Hedge fund managers were net sellers of petroleum-linked futures and options for a fifth week running last week as concerns about sanctions on Iran evaporated and investors refocused on economic worries.

Portfolio managers have been net sellers of 371 million barrels since the end of September, taking their net long position to the lowest level for 15 months, according to records published by regulators and exchanges.

Oil prices down on surging output, but Iran sanctions loom

CNBC

  • Crude output from Russia, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia surged in October.
  • The sharp increase in supply comes ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran which are due to go into effect next week.

Oil prices fell on Friday as surging output by the world’s three largest producers outweighed supply concerns from the start of U.S. sanctions next week against Iran’s petroleum exports.

Front-month Brent crude futures were at $72.60 per barrel at 0441 GMT on Friday, down 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 24 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $63.45 a barrel.

Brent has fallen by over 12 percent since the beginning of October, while WTI has lost more than 13 percent in value.

“More troubling… is the shift in structure towards contango,” U.S. investment bank Jefferies said on Friday.

Contango implies oversupply as it means prices for future delivery are higher than for immediate dispatch.

This makes it attractive for traders to store oil for later sale, although Jefferies said “spreads are still insufficient to encourage physical storage.”

Prices for April 2019 delivery are around 20 cents above January.

Downward pressure on oil is also visible in the physical market, where Saudi Arabia is expected to cut December crude prices amid higher supply and a glut in refined products that has eroded refinery profits.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) boosted oil production in October to 33.31 million barrels per day (bpd), a Reuters survey found this week, up 390,000 bpd from September and the highest by OPEC since December 2016.

In the United States, crude production has established itself well over 11 million bpd, and the U.S. is now running neck and neck with Russia for the title of top producer.

Russian production has risen to record high of 11.41 million bpd in October, up from 11.36 million bpd in September.

With Saudi Arabia pumping 10.65 million bpd in October, combined output from the top-three oil producers is at a record 33.41 million bpd, meaning that Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia meet more than a third of the world’s almost 100 million bpd of consumption.

“This surge has driven the market into oversupply,” Jefferies said.

U.S. sanctions on Iran loom

Despite surging output, concerns lingered ahead of the start of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s petroleum exports from next week.

Iran’s biggest oil customers, all in Asia, are seeking sanction waivers.

“Potential waivers appear targeted at India and South Korea, and they require some reductions over current import volumes while still allowing oil to flow,” said Clayton Allen of Height Securities.

“We think Trump will agree to China importing some volumes, similar to the treatment that India and South Korea receive,” he said.

Japan is seeking a similar deal.

Despite these efforts, analysts said any potential Iranian oil sanction waivers would likely only be temporary.

“The U.S. may use waivers to slow-walk implementation, but these will not apply indefinitely,” he added.

Goldman Sachs said it expects Iran’s crude oil exports to fall to 1.15 million bpd by the end of the year, down from around 2.5 million bpd in mid-2018.

“We still expect that the global oil market will be in deficit in 4Q18,” the U.S. bank said.

By the end of 2019, however, Goldman expects Brent to fall to $65 a barrel, largely due to “the unleashing of Permian (U.S. shale) supply growth once new pipelines come online.”

Oil prices fall on signs of rising supplies, ebbing confidence on global economy

CNBC

  • Oil prices declined early on Thursday.
  • The fall in oil prices came on the back of large losses in October for both Brent and WTI.

Oil prices fell early on Thursday, extending losses in previous sessions, amid signs of rising supply and growing concerns that demand might weaken on the prospect of a global economic slowdown.

The Brent crude January futures contract lost 44 cents, or 0.32 percent, to trade at $74.72 per barrel by GMT 0054 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 46 cents to $65.01 a barrel.

Both benchmarks posted their worst monthly performance since July 2016 on Wednesday, with Brent falling 8.8 percent for the month and WTI dropping 10.9 percent.

Thursday’s drops came after U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed crude oil inventories climbed for a sixth straight week.

“The strong built in oil inventories is likely to keep downward pressure on oil prices,” ANZ Research analysts said in a note.

Meanwhile a Reuters survey found the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) boosted oil production in October to its highest since 2016, as higher output led by the United Arab Emirates and Libya more than offset a cut in Iranian shipments due to U.S. sanctions, set to start on Nov. 4.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday in a presidential memorandum that he had determined there was sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from nations other than Iran to permit a reduction in purchases from that country.

Also weighing on prices is growing concerns over the prospect of a global slowdown amid the ongoing U.S-China trade war, said Bruce Xue, an analyst with Huatai Great Wall Capital Management.

“Oil investors are now betting on the potential of global slowdown,” Xue said.

China delivered disappointing PMI data, with its manufacturing sector in October expanding at its weakest pace in over two years.