Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Oil hits new multi-year high above $80/bbl on Iran concerns

OPEC is pumping and USD is up but Oil doesn't care OPEC is pumping and USD is up but Oil doesn't care
Andrew Cummings | 18 May, 2018, 15:23

Oil rose to $80 a barrel in London for the first time since 2014 as USA crude inventories fell and traders braced for the impact of renewed sanctions on OPEC member Iran.

The Paris-based IEA said potential supply disruptions in Iran and Venezuela have prompted oil traders to focus on geopolitics rather than fundamentals, warning that any supply cuts could cause prices to rocket.

Global benchmark Brent crude for July delivery fetched around $78.25 per barrel in late London session on Wednesday, compared with $77 around the same time last week. A stronger dollar makes it more expensive for users of other currencies to buy dollar-denominated commodities like oil.

Brent crude futures (LCOc1) gained 85 cents to settle at $79.28 a barrel, while USA crude futures gained 18 cents to settle at $71.49 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $71.63 a barrel, up 14 cents and set for a third straight week of increase.

OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, assured key consumers that the world would have adequate supplies even if Iran's exports dropped sharply.

However, Venezuela's economic crisis, and the prospect of additional US sanctions following its May 20 elections could hit the market further. The French company won't risk investing in Iran following the return of US sanctions unless it can obtain a waiver.

A worker walks at the Zubair oilfield in Basra, Iraq May 9, 2018.

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The fallout from US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and impose trade sanctions on the Islamic Republic has begun in earnest. India, the third-largest consumer of oil after the US and China, would be especially hard-hit if prices keep rising.

US crude inventories (USOILC=ECI) fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to May 11, compared with analyst expectations for a 763,000 barrel decrease.

That has not been enough to stop oil prices rallying, energy ministers of OPEC's largest producer Saudi Arabia and its neighbor and fellow OPEC member United Arab Emirates to note that the market remains well supplied. They plan to meet their Russian counterpart in Saint Petersburg in a week to discuss the oil market.

In addition, fresh U.S. crude data which emerged on Wednesday piqued concerns by revealing a larger than expected drop in the country's overall supplies ahead of the high-demand summer driving season.

OPEC updated their forecast and are looking for stronger demand and stable supply.

Further supporting prices, Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday said it was halting crude exports from a major Nigerian pipeline.

Prior to Thursday's peak oil prices had already been rising thanks to steady demand growth and a landmark deal by oil producing countries, both inside and outside the OPEC cartel, to lower output by 1.8 million barrels per day till end 2018. "Demand for oil has been revised downwards for the second half of the year from April", PVM Oil Associates strategist Tamas Varga said.

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