Oil dips as U.S. inventory build stokes supply fears

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude futures fell 13 cents, or 0.3%, to $42.95 a barrel by 0019 GMT.
  • U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $40.52 a barrel.
South Belridge Oil Field is the fourth-largest oil field in California and one of the most productive in the U.S.
South Belridge Oil Field is the fourth-largest oil field in California and one of the most productive in the U.S.
David McNew | Getty Images

Oil prices eased in early trade on Wednesday as industry data showing a build in U.S. crude stockpiles and a forecast for U.S. crude output to fall less than anticipated in 2020 added to worries about oversupply.

Brent crude futures fell 13 cents, or 0.3%, to $42.95 a barrel by 0019 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $40.52 a barrel.

Prices were little changed in the previous session and have been held in a narrow band over the past two weeks as concerns about a spike in coronavirus cases globally tempers optimism about a recovery in fuel demand.

U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose last week, against expectations for a draw, although gasoline and distillate inventories fell more than expected, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) said on Tuesday U.S. crude oil production is expected to fall by 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2020, a smaller decline than the 670,000 bpd it forecast previously.

However, it also expected global oil demand would recover through the end of 2021, predicting demand of 101.1 million bpd by the fourth quarter of next year.

“The EIA’s forecast of a lower decline in U.S. output was partially offset by its outlook for firm demand recovery, which limited losses in oil markets,” Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities said.

“Still, expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies would taper oil output cuts from August and softer U.S. equities added to pressure,” he said.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) plans to boost oil exports in August, the first signal that OPEC and its allies, together known as OPEC+, are preparing to ease record oil output cuts next month, three sources familiar with the development told Reuters.

Key ministers of the OPEC+ are due to hold talks next week.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States pushed past 3 million on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally.

Oil prices rise ahead of OPEC+ meeting on extended output cuts

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude futures rose 0.91%, or 35 cents, to $38.67 a barrel as of 0427 GMT.
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 0.56%, or 20 cents, to $35.64 a barrel.
An aerial drone view of a crude oil storage facility on April 23, 2020 in Cushing, Oklahoma.
An aerial drone view of a crude oil storage facility on April 23, 2020 in Cushing, Oklahoma.
Tom Pennington | Getty Images

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, with traders waiting to see whether major producers agree to extend their huge output cuts to shore up prices at a virtual meeting expected later this week.

Brent crude futures rose 0.91%, or 35 cents, to $38.67 a barrel as of 0427 GMT.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude <CLc1> futures rose 0.56%, or 20 cents, to $35.64 a barrel.

Brent has doubled over the past six weeks, thanks to supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia, a grouping dubbed OPEC+.

Both Brent and WTI prices, however, are still down about 40% for the year so far.

“The whole story is very much based around the supply cuts and the demand recovery,” said Commonwealth Bank commodities analyst Vivek Dhar.

OPEC+ producers are considering extending their output cut of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd), about 10% of global production, into July or August, at an online meeting likely to be held on June 4.

“Most likely, OPEC+ could extend current cuts until Sept. 1, with a meeting set before then to decide on next steps,” said Citi’s head of commodities research Edward Morse.

Under the OPEC+ plan agreed in April, the record supply cut was to be for May and June, scaling back to a cut of 7.7 million bpd from July through December. Saudi Arabia has been leading talks to push for extending the heftier cuts, sources told Reuters last week.

“Russia will be the key obstacle in any extension, and they are unlikely to agree on any extension which goes beyond a couple of months,” said analysts at Dutch bank ING.

An extension could push oil prices to $40, but there would have to be follow-through on that commitment to sustain higher prices, said Commonwealth Bank’s Dhar.

A drop in crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, which fell to 54.3 million barrels in the week to May 29, also buoyed prices, traders said, citing a Genscape report on Monday.

A preliminary Reuters poll, however, showed that overall U.S. crude oil stocks likely increased last week.

Trade tension between China and the United States over Beijing’s security clampdown in Hong Kong, as well as manufacturing data on Monday showing Asian and European factories struggling, has kept a lid on gains.

Oil prices slip as wary traders eye upcoming OPEC+ meeting

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude fell 34 cents to $37.50 a barrel, in the first day of trading in the contract with August as the front month.
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for July delivery were at $35.17 a barrel, down 32 cents, by 0123 GMT.
Oil-storage tanks are seen from above in Carson, California, April 25, 2020 after the price for crude plunged into negative territory for the first time in history on April 20.
Oil-storage tanks are seen from above in Carson, California, April 25, 2020 after the price for crude plunged into negative territory for the first time in history on April 20.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

Oil prices fell nearly 1% on Monday as traders hedged bets with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) considering meeting as soon as this week to discuss whether to extend record production cuts beyond end-June.

Brent crude fell 34 cents to $37.50 a barrel, in the first day of trading in the contract with August as the front month.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for July delivery were at $35.17 a barrel, down 32 cents, by 0123 GMT.

The price falls come after front-month Brent and WTI prices posted their strongest monthly gains in years in May. Gains were boosted by OPEC crude production dropping to its lowest in two decades with demand is expected to recover as more nations emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.

“The focus is very much on OPEC+,” OCBC economist Howie Lee said, referring to the grouping of OPEC and its allies including Russia. OPEC+ agreed in April to reduce output by an unprecedented 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in May and June after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged demand.

“We might see a cautious pullback in (crude) prices given that downstream prices haven’t caught up … but if OPEC+ does come up with a three-month extension, there’s a possibility that prices may hit the $40 level,” Lee said.

Still, tensions between the United States and China weighed on global financial markets while traders are also keeping an eye on riots over the weekend that have engulfed major U.S. cities.

Saudi Arabia is proposing to extend record cuts from May and June until the end of the year, but has yet to win support from Russia, sources have told Reuters.

Algeria, which currently holds the OPEC presidency, has proposed an OPEC+ meeting planned for June 9-10 be brought forward to facilitate oil sales for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. Russia has no objection to the meeting being brought forward to June 4.

Meanwhile supply in North America is also falling as data from Baker Hughes showed that the U.S. and Canada oil and gas rigs count dropped to a record low in the week to May 29.

Oil drops after China abandons target for 2020 GDP amid coronavirus outbreak

Reuters

KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude fell $1.56, or 4.3%, to $34.50 a barrel by 0323 GMT, after gaining nearly 1% on Thursday.
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped by $1.79, or 5.3%, to $32.13 a barrel, having gained more than 1% in the last session.
Oil storage tanks stand at the RN-Tuapsinsky refinery, operated by Rosneft Oil Co., in Tuapse, Russia, on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Oil storage tanks stand at the RN-Tuapsinsky refinery, operated by Rosneft Oil Co., in Tuapse, Russia, on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Oil prices slumped on Friday after China’s decision to omit an economic growth target for 2020 renewed concerns that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will continue to depress fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil user.

Brent crude fell $1.56, or 4.3%, to $34.50 a barrel by 0323 GMT, after gaining nearly 1% on Thursday.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped by $1.79, or 5.3%, to $32.13 a barrel, having gained more than 1% in the last session.

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) kicked off a week-long meeting on Friday with the government saying it omitted the 2020 target, while pledging to issue 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) of special treasury bonds to support companies and regions hit by the pandemic.

Abandoning the growth target “could be interpreted as putting less focus on infrastructure investment and could be viewed as negative for oil,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp.

“The commodity market, in general, was looking for a bigger infrastructure pump from the NPC so there is bound to be an element of disappointment,” he said.

Still, both Brent and WTI are heading for a fourth week of gains as more evidence emerged that fuel demand is recovering as countries ease business and social restrictions imposed to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

Gasoline demand is returning with traffic congestion in some of the world’s capitals recovering to year-earlier levels after the lifting of coronavirus, data prepared for Reuters shows.

Traffic flows in Berlin and Tokyo have rebounded, according to the data, while in the United States the easing of restrictions in many states has supported demand for gasoline. The upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend typically kicks off the U.S. summer driving season.

Oil prices rise on demand prospects as lockdowns start to ease

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose as much as 8.2% to a three-week high of $22.06 and were up 7.6%, or $1.55, at $21.94 at 0108 GMT. The U.S. benchmark is on a five-day win streak that started on April 29.
  • Brent crude futures hit a high of $28.37 a barrel in early trade and were up 4.1%, or $1.12 cents, at $28.32. Brent is up for a sixth straight day.
An offshore oil platform is seen with a tanker in the distance on April 20, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California.
An offshore oil platform is seen with a tanker in the distance on April 20, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California.
Michael Heiman | Getty Images

Oil prices climbed in early trade on Tuesday, adding to gains in the previous session, on expectations that fuel demand will begin to pick up as some U.S. states and nations in Europe and Asia start to ease coronavirus lockdown measures.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose as much as 8.2% to a three-week high of $22.06 and were up 7.6%, or $1.55, at $21.94 at 0108 GMT. The U.S. benchmark is on a five-day win streak that started on April 29.

Brent crude futures hit a high of $28.37 a barrel in early trade and were up 4.1%, or $1.12 cents, at $28.32. Brent is up for a sixth straight day.

Both benchmark contracts rose about 3% on Monday.

Prospects improved for fuel demand as some U.S. states and several countries, including Italy, Spain, Portugal, India and Thailand, began allowing some people to go back to work and opened up construction sites, parks and libraries.

“Considering … the depths of demand destruction, markets are probably inclined to take any good news relatively quickly,” said Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

Global oil demand probably collapsed by as much as 30% in April, analysts have said, and the recovery is likely to be slow, especially with airlines expected to remain largely grounded for months to come.

Australian national carrier Qantas Airways’ Chief Executive Alan Joyce said on Tuesday that “international travel demand could take years to return to what it was.”

With Saudi Arabia, Russia other major producers and companies slashing output, the market shrugged off a decision by the Texas energy regulator to cancel a vote on mandating a 20% output cut in the United States’ biggest oil-producing state.

The Texas Railroad Commission had been due to hold the vote on Tuesday, but Commissioner Ryan Sitton was unable to win support from his fellow commissioners for the plan. The proposal was strongly opposed by oil trade groups and major shale producers.

“The intent in itself was positive — but it was always going to be a long shot,” Hynes said.