December 10, 2018

Oil prices steady near year lows ahead of G20, OPEC meeting

29 November 2018, 02:53 | Austin Hogan

Crude oil dips 0.68% on ample Saudi output; all eye on G20, Opec meetings

Oil prices steady near year lows ahead of G20 OPEC meeting

"This is the only way to explain why an increase in USA crude oil stocks of a good 10 million barrels failed to put further pressure on prices".

Brent crude futures rose $1.84 to $60.64 a barrel by 1445 GMT, while USA futures gained $1.47 to $51.89 a barrel after Friday's sell-off, which saw both contracts hit 13-month lows. Indeed, on Friday prices of United States oil fell 7 percent, sinking even deeper into a bear market that has comparatively raised investor concern.

Crude oil prices fell on Tuesday by another 0.68 per cent to Rs 3,653 per barrel as speculators indulged in reducing holdings amid a weakening trend overseas. Its budget deficit swelled to a record $100 billion in 2015 (15% of GDP) and the International Monetary Fund warned that some Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, could run out of money within five years if prices stayed low.

"Oil is on a slippery slope", said Norbert Ruecker, head of commodity research at Swiss bank Julius Baer.

"After Friday's panic selling, the move to the downside may be somewhat overdone", Justin McQueen, DailyFX analyst, separately told UPI.

The OPEC kingpin and world's leading oil exporter would like a higher price, and has suggested it will back a production cut when the cartel meets next week.

Tariq Zahir, a commodity fund manager at Tyche Capital Advisors LLC, explained that Russian Federation has indicated "they aren't excited about doing a cut; if Saudi decides to do a cut, it's really going to be giving up market share to the United States. The market is now looking for a potential repeat", Hansen said.

Last week Trump tweeted, "Oil prices getting lower".

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Speaking of Saudi Arabia, the region's Energy Minister Khalid al Falih said that their output, this month, would definitely surpass October's production.

That move would imply a production pullback because Saudi Arabia is overproducing by almost 1 million barrels a day, according to people familiar with the matter.

Saudi Arabia has been pushing for an OPEC cut, indicating it may reduce supply by 500,000 bpd.

The EIA also estimated that US crude oil production in the week ending November 16 was 11.7 million barrels per day, which stayed the same as the previous week. This Saudi announcement helped prices ease from peaks in early October.

Oil closed a volatile day back in negative territory, weighed down by uncertainty over OPEC's appetite for curbing output as the rising dollar and renewed trade tensions diminished crude's appeal.

Falih pinned the anticipated drop in demand on the Trump administration allowing some of Iran's biggest customers, including China and India, to continue buying that nation's crude despite USA sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Navigating the oil market has become challenging due to USA foreign policies concerning oil producers, including Opec, and rising geopolitical uncertainties. Trump has reiterated his view that falling oil prices are great after the USA benchmark plunged the most last week since January 2016. "This would require a clear statement from OPEC that it is willing to cut production considerably", Commerzbank AG said in a note.

OPEC and its partners are set to meet on December 6 and 7 in Vienna, but the direction of next year's oil prices may well be decided later this week when the key decision makers are set to gather on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

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