Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Moody's raises medium-term price band forecast for crude oil

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan New York Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan New York City U.S
Ellis Copeland | 14 March, 2018, 20:49

If Trump walks away from the Iran nuclear deal on May 12 (the date of the next U.S. sanctions waiver), crude oil prices are likely to rise as global supply falls.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 18 cents to $64.46 per barrel by 12:45 p.m. EST (1645 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were down 9 cents at $60.62 per barrel.

Shale oil - which accounts for the majority of US supply - is expensive to produce, and is therefore unprofitable when prices are low. Gasoline stocks fell by 6.3 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.2 million-barrel drop.

US crude stocks rose last week, but refined product inventories fell more than expected, with gasoline demand rising to a seven-month high, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

"The drop in product stocks is significant with refinery utilization up 2% to 90%", said James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics.

Crude production from China's largest oil producer China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) fell 1.6 percent in the first two months of 2018 compared with a year ago, a source with direct knowledge of the data said on Wednesday. Gasoline futures surged 1% as stockpiles sank the most since September.

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In theory, this also implies that crude prices are based on extremely shaky numbers as well as sentiment, and one person who is concerned about the effect the price structures will have on fundamentals is Michael Tran, global energy strategist for RBC Capital Markets.

"The total US crude, gasoline and distillate stocks have increased in eight of the past 10 weeks, raising 24 million bl in total since the start of the year".

OPEC's having achieved excellent compliance with its production restraint, with total cuts aided by Saudi Arabia exceeding its targets and Venezuela exceeding its targets because of domestic issues.

"Prices in the upper half of the oil price-band will encourage increased supply as United States production grows and countries reduce compliance with their production quotas", said Terry Marshall, a Moody's Senior Vice President.

Weekly U.S. crude production figures will be published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) later on Wednesday.

USA production growth is still expected at 2.7 percent in 2018, up from 2.3 percent in 2017.

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