Crude oil futures stable on Russian data ahead of US stocks report

S&P GLOBAL, PLATTS

Singapore — Crude oil futures were stable to higher during mid-morning trade in Asia Tuesday, with the Brent futures contract largely unchanged on the back of stable production data from Russia and the NYMEX WTI contract edging higher ahead of the release of weekly US inventory reports.

At 10:30 am Singapore time (0230 GMT), ICE November Brent crude futures were down a marginal 3 cents/b (0.04%) from Monday’s settle at $78.12/b, while the NYMEX October light sweet crude contract was 26 cents/b (0.37%) higher than Friday’s settle at $70.06/b. The US market was closed Monday for Labor Day.

“WTI appears to be catching up with Brent’s climb on Monday while the US markets were closed,” said Vandana Hari, founder Vanda Insights. “Brent appears to be taking a pause this morning after touching three-month highs,” she added.

Russia’s crude and condensate production averaged 11.21 million b/d in August, dipping 8,000 b/d from July, when the country cranked up production significantly, according to preliminary data released Sunday by the Central Dispatching Unit, the energy ministry’s statistics arm.

Russia started raising oil output in June after the the OPEC/non-OPEC coalition agreed to ease production caps in effect since 2017. Russia’s production in August was estimated at 253,000 b/d above the level envisaged under the initial production cut deal, energy minister Alexander Novak said Monday. “In September, the output is expected at the level of July, August,” Novak was quoted as saying by Prime news agency.

“Russia is also unable to significantly expand its production which, following an increase in the summer, is now close to its post-Soviet record high,” said Commerzbank analysts in a note. “It therefore remains unclear whether OPEC will be able to absorb a potentially massive fall in Iranian oil exports due to the US sanctions,” they added.

Meanwhile, NYMEX WTI prices were trading slightly higher during the Asian morning session ahead of the release of weekly US crude inventory data, which will be delayed this week by the Labor Day holiday.

The larger-than-expected draw in US crude inventories for the week ended August 24 has been keeping prices supported, analysts said.

Preliminary reports on last week’s US crude inventory levels are due for release by the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday and the more definitive numbers by the US Energy Information Administration on Thursday.

Elsewhere, analysts from BNP Paribas have lowered their forecasts for oil prices for the rest of the year in light of stable demand-supply expectations.

“We do not expect oil demand to be materially impacted in the next 6-9 months by economic uncertainty linked to US/China trade tensions and recent concerns over emerging markets,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, senior oil strategist at BNP Paribas.

On the impact of the loss of Iranian crude barrels in the market as a result of the US sanctions, Tchilinguirian said that although an initial supply gap was likely to emerge, given average inventory levels in the OECD, the oil market was expected to resolve the supply gap through higher prices.

“We see WTI averaging $68/b in 2018 and Brent at $74/b. In 2019, we see WTI averaging $74/b and Brent at $79/b,” Tchilinguirian added.

Market participants were also watching Tuesday for developments in the US-China trade war, with the US expected to announce another round of tariffs on Chinese goods.

“We might see renewed downward pressure on crude later this week if the US goes ahead with imposing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports,” Hari said.

As of 0230 GMT, the US Dollar Index was up 0.12% at 95.185.

Oil prices mixed; Brent eases as trade tensions weigh

CNBC

  • Oil prices were mixed on Monday with U.S. benchmark WTI nudging higher after four weeks of declines.
  • Brent began the week lower as the fallout from trade tensions weighed on markets.

An oil pumpjack operates near Williston, North Dakota.

Andrew Cullen | Reuters
An oil pumpjack operates near Williston, North Dakota.

Oil prices were mixed on Monday with U.S. benchmark WTI nudging higher after four weeks of declines, while Brent began the week lower as the fallout from trade tensions weighed on markets.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $68.84 a barrel by 0309 GMT. WTI fell 1.3 percent on Friday.

Brent crude futures fell 5 cents to $74.24 a barrel, after notching up a 1.7 percent weekly increase last week, the first gain in four weeks.

The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter, but trade tensions remain high between Washington and Beijing despite an easing between the United States and the EU.

“Concerns around the U.S.-China trade wars continue to weigh on prices, while the halt in Saudi shipments through the Red Sea waterway has seemingly failed to provide a bullish fillip,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA Brokerage.

Oil prices are in a constructive period, says Helima Croft

Oil prices are in a constructive period, says Helima Croft  

Saudi Arabia last week said it was suspending oil shipments through the Red Sea’s Bab al-Mandeb strait, one of the world’s most important tanker routes, after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis attacked two ships in the waterway.

U.S. energy companies added three oil rigs in the week to July 27, the first time in the past three weeks that drillers have increased activity, data released on Friday that showed.

Hedge funds trimmed their bullish wagers on U.S. crude for the second week in a row to the lowest in nearly a month, data also showed on Friday, as oil prices remained volatile amid trade tensions and geopolitical risks.

The speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 11,362 contracts to 412,289 in the week to July 24, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. That was the lowest level since late June, the data showed.2.4 percent.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said on Friday the market remained volatile and responded to verbal interventions, adding that the market had priced in risks related to U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Crude oil futures soften as bearish factors come in to play; ICE Brent down to $74.37/b, NYMEX WTI $69.40/b

S&P GLOBAL

London — Crude oil futures were showing signs of shedding their recent gains in European morning trading Friday as a sense of unease in the market and trading activity showing signs of fatigue battled to outweigh the recent bullish geopolitical news and US stock draw.

At 1000 GMT, the September ICE Brent crude futures contract was down 17 cents from the Thursday’s settle at $74.37/b, while the NYMEX WTI September contract was down 21 cents at $69.40/b.

“The softening of the near-term structure points to an underlying sense of unease,” PVM analysts said in a report Friday morning.

Adding to the bearish weight are the signs of fatigue developing in the market.

ICE Brent volumes have declined by a significant 29% between Monday and Thursday of this week, which “bares all the hallmarks of rally fatigue and will do little to underpin meek levels of upside potential,” PVM analysts said.

There is however still plenty of bullish news in the market and “in the absence of any major political or economic turmoil, Brent is likely to remain at above $70/b in the coming weeks,” Commerzbank analysts said in a morning note Friday.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, suspended all its oil shipments through the Bab el-Mandeb strait at the southern tip of the Red Sea, following an attack on two VLCCs by Yemeni Houthi militia.

Many market participants were largely unfazed by this event saying that oil trade will not be significantly disrupted by the halting of Saudi Aramco’s shipments through the strait unless the security situation deteriorates.

“The news of Saudi shipments via the Red Sea being suspended had amazingly little impact on the oil price,” Commerzbank analysts said.

Energy Information Administration data released late Wednesday — showing US crude inventories fell 6.15 million barrels to 404.94 million barrels in the week ended July 20 — and rising geopolitical tensions between the US and Iran also appear to have been digested by the market and are no longer providing much in the way of support to the oil complex.

In response to the rising tensions, PVM analysts said “once upon a time, such threats would have propelled oil prices higher…[but now] they offer little in the way of price support with market players having become accustomed to such theatrics.”

Looking towards the US, logistical issues remain, with pipeline capacity insufficient to keep up with rising production in the Permian basin.

“There is unlikely to be much relief until the second half of 2019, when new pipeline capacity is scheduled to start up,” ING analysts said in a note.

Market players will be looking towards the weather moving into next week — especially for any signs of potential hurricanes — as adverse weather conditions can have a significant impact on the oil market, potentially causing severe supply disruptions.

Brent oil gains $1 to claw back some losses

CNBC

  • Brent crude rose more than $1 on Thursday, recouping some ground after its biggest one-day drop in two years in the previous session.
  • Those declines came on news that Libya would resume oil exports and U.S.-China trade tensions.

An oil pumpjack operates near Williston, North Dakota.

Andrew Cullen | Reuters
An oil pumpjack operates near Williston, North Dakota.

Brent crude rose more than $1 on Thursday, recouping some ground after its biggest one-day drop in two years in the previous session on news that Libya would resume oil exports and U.S.-China trade tensions.

Brent crude rose $1.31, or 1.8 percent, to $74.71 by 0242 GMT after slumping 6.9 percent on Wednesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) added 42 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $70.80, after falling 5 percent the previous session.

“Markets in Asia are a lot more settled today,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader in Sydney.

“Moves, the like of which we saw in Brent and to a lesser extent WTI, last night are often followed by some sort of bounce the following day or session,” he said.

The announcement by Libya’s National Oil Corp that four export terminals were being reopened, ending a standoff that had shut down most of Libya’s oil output, was one of the catalysts for a correction, analysts said.

The reopening allows the return of as much as 850,000 barrels per day of crude into international markets, while an escalating U.S.-China trade row has raised concerns about demand.

Oil had some supportive news late on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil stocks fell by nearly 13 million barrels last week, the most in nearly two years, dropping overall crude stocks to their lowest point since February 2015.

The decline in overall inventories was partially due to a fall-off in stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures, which were down by 2.1 million barrels.

“For WTI there is tightness at Cushing, which will be supportive over July and August,” said Virendra Chauhan, oil analyst at Energy Aspects in Singapore.

Supply to the U.S. market has also been squeezed by the loss of some Canadian oil production.

US crude rises 1%, settling above $74 for first time since Nov 2014 as sanctions on Iranian oil loom 

CNBC

  • Oil prices rose as U.S. sanctions against Iran threatened to remove a substantial volume of oil from world markets.
  • OPEC and Russia have said they will raise output to meet demand, but many analysts think that the extra supply may be inadequate.
  • A Canadian production outage disrupted the North American market.

Oil prices rose on Friday as U.S. sanctions against Iran threatened to remove a substantial volume of crude from world markets at a time of rising global demand.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude ended Friday’s session up 70 cents, or 1 percent, at $74.15, its best closing price since Nov. 24, 2014. WTI hit a session peak of $74.46, also its highest level since November 2014.

Brent crude rose $1.59, or 2 percent, to $79.44, just shy of a 3½-year closing price.

“All the potential shortfalls could outstrip the production increase agreed to by OPEC and Russia,” said Dominick Chirichella, Director of Risk Management at EMI DTN. There’s a risk that supplies from Iran could be cut further as there’s pressure on other countries to join the United States in sanctions, he said.

Iran is the fifth-largest oil producer in the world, pumping about 4.7 million barrels per day (bpd), or almost 5 percent of world’s oil, much of it to China and other energy-hungry nations such as India.

Crude oil prices hit 3.5-year high

Crude oil prices hit 3.5-year high  

The U.S. government wants to stop Tehran exporting oil to cut off a vital supply of finance and hopes other big oil producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia will make up for the deficit.

But the world oil market is already tight and many analysts and big investors think strict enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Iran will push up prices sharply.

But the world oil market is already tight with unplanned disruptions in Canada, Libya and Venezuela removing supply.

Many analysts and investors think strict enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Iran will push up prices sharply.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Saudi Arabia and Russia will struggle to compensate for potential losses in oil production from the likes of Venezuela, Iran and Libya,” said Abhishek Kumar, analyst at Interfax Energy in London.

Vienna-based consultancy JBC Energy said the stronger the implementation and enforcement of U.S. sanctions, the higher the oil price will go. “Triple-digit oil prices are not off the table,” JBC said.

A Reuters survey of 35 economists and analysts on Friday forecast Brent would average $72.58 a barrel in 2018, 90 cents higher than the $71.68 forecast in last month’s poll and compared with the $71.15 average so far this year.

North American oil stocks have fallen as an outage at Canada’s Syncrude has locked in more than 300,000 bpd of production. The outage is expected to last at least through July, according to operator Suncor Energy.

Dan Eberhart: Oil prices to keep rising

Dan Eberhart: Oil prices to keep rising  

Outside North America, record demand and voluntary supply cuts led by OPEC have pushed up prices. Unplanned supply disruptions from Libya to Venezuela have further tightened the market.

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Friday it expects to declare force majeure on loadings from the eastern ports of Zueitina and Hariga from July 1, raising losses in output from a power struggle over oil exports to 800,000 bpd

OPEC and Russia have said they will raise output to meet demand and replace crude from unplanned disruptions but many analysts think that the extra supply may be inadequate.

Major buyers of Iranian oil, including Japan, India and South Korea, have indicated that they may stop importing Iranian crude if U.S. sanctions are imposed.

Until then, however, Asia is buying as much Iranian oil as possible. Imports of Iranian crude oil by major buyers in Asia rose in May to the highest in eight months. China, India, Japan and South Korea last month imported 1.8 million bpd from Iran, up 15 percent from a year ago.

— CNBC’s Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.