U.S. Pushes for Lower Oil Prices as OPEC Mulls Production Boost
27 May, 2018, 01:21
Gulf OPEC countries are leading the initial talks on when the exporting group can boost oil production to cool the oil market after crude rose above $80 a barrel last week, and how many barrels each member can add, the sources said.
It may be recalled that oil prices in March were pushed up by Saudi statements that OPEC and Russian led production curbs that were introduced in 2017 will need to be extended into 2019 in order to tighten the market. Commercial US crude inventories C-STK-T-EIA rose by 5.8 million barrels last week, despite expectations that production would decrease by as much as 1.6 million barrels, reports the Energy Information Association.
The price for Brent crude oil was up 0.95 percent as of 9:17 a.m. EDT to $79.97 per barrel, making at least its second run on the psychological threshold of $80 per barrel since Trump's decision on Iran.
On Monday, the U.S. demanded Iran make sweeping changes - from dropping its nuclear program to pulling out of the Syrian civil war - or face severe economic sanctions. Currently, the price is sitting right on the neckline and a break under it could be the trigger that begins a drop down towards the main support line, currently at $76.45. "If sanctions are imposed on Iran, most OPEC producers would like to pump more oil, especially given higher prices", the market strategist of CMC Markets, Michael McCarthy said.
Meanwhile, oil benchmarks fell on Wednesday after an unexpected build in US crude and gasoline inventories despite strong demand, and as traders weighed the possibility of an increase in OPEC crude output to cover any shortfalls in supply from Iran and Venezuela. As of 10:46 a.m. EDT, Brent was down $1.17 a barrel at $78.40; US crude lost 85 cents to $71.35 a barrel. "China is also getting its oil from the stockpile of America", Roque said, and the Philippines is studying if "we can also do the same move like what China did".
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The premium of Brent crude over U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures neared $8 a barrel, close to its widest in three years. USA refineries produced about 10 million barrels of gasoline a day last week, down by about 500,000 barrels compared to the prior week.
In Canadian dollar terms, the price of WTI is now where it was, on average, during what Porter called the "go-go years for oil prices", between 2007 and 2014. "The global sweet spot - where oil prices may have positively contributed to global growth - seems to be somewhere between $50/bbl and $70/bbl", CNBC cited UBS sa saying.
Distillate inventories saw a draw this week 1.3 million barrels, largely in line analyst forecasts that we would see a decline of 1.335 million barrels.
Uncertainties about supplies from Iran and Venezuela have led prices to spike higher in recent weeks, with industry players warning they could jump to $100 per barrel.
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