Monday, 18 March, 2019

Brent oil price pushes above $80 a barrel

Oil prices climb as Iran sanctions loom Oil hovers near $80 a barrel as concern grows over global supply
Rhonda Young | 13 September, 2018, 06:05

The bank lifted its long-term price forecast for Brent crude for the first time in 15 months due to a slowdown in supply from the world's largest oil producers.

With Middle East crude markets also tightening because of the US sanctions against Iran, many Asian refiners are seeking alternative supplies, with South Korean and Japanese imports of USA crude hitting a record in September.

That data dovetails with an EIA report Tuesday in which the government reduced its forecast for US oil production in 2019 to 11.5 million barrels a day from 11.7 million, as pipeline shortages and other constraints force some producers to the sidelines.

Oil has risen above $80 a barrel to its highest level this year amid concerns about supplies from Iran and a fall in U.S. stockpiles.

EIA forecasts Brent spot prices to average $74 per barrel in 2019. "The fact that much higher supply is already needed from the likes of Saudi Arabia - and the low levels of spare capacity remaining - leave the global system highly vulnerable to any further significant outage". Later today at 1430 GMT, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is expected to report a 1.3 million barrel draw down for the week-ending September 7.

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"Iran is increasingly becoming the preoccupation of the crude market".

A group of producers around OPEC and Russian Federation have been voluntarily withholding supplies since January 2017 to tighten markets, but with crude prices up by more than 40 percent since then and markets significantly tighter, there has been pressure on Russian Federation and OPEC to raise output. Perry will meet with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Thursday in Moscow.

"Markets ... are expecting substantial price pressure as Iran sanction loom", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

The Wall Street Journal said OPEC's total oil production climbed last month, in a sign the oil cartel is sticking with a decision to begin pumping out more barrels of crude this summer after more than a year of holding back output.

USA crude oil production in 2018 is expected to grow 1.31 million barrels per day (bpd) to 10.66 million bpd, little changed from EIA's previous forecast.

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S&P global Platts said OPEC, in a report, indicated demand for the organization's own crude oil in September will be nearly 1 million bpd more than the level produced in August.

Besides the API report, traders are also responding to the potential impact of Hurricane Florence, which is expected to make landfall in a day or two.

Oil demand growth in 2019 is expected to rise by 250,000 bpd, a decrease from EIA's previous projection for an increase of 290,000 bpd.

Crude output will not be affected by the "monster" storm, but the evacuation of more than a million residents, as well as businesses, has prompted a near-term spike in fuel demand.

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