Oil Rises on Possible Trade Agreement

11 April, 2018, 12:42 | Author: Barbara Daniel
  • An Oil Price Rally Is Likely

Oil prices rallied more than two per cent on Monday after declining by about the same amount on Friday.

In addition, possible military action by the USA and Saudi Arabia in Syria creates a high risk for safe production and exports of crude oil from the region and the kingdom, which could keep upward pressure on crude prices, experts warned.

"Oil prices have been susceptible to the brewing trade tensions between China and the USA...."

In physical oil markets, OPEC's number two producer Iraq said on Monday that it is keeping prices for its crude supplies in May steady.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery rose 2.09 USA dollars to settle at 65.51 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for June delivery added 2.39 dollar to close at 71.04 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Brent crude futures were up 39 cents on the day at $67.50 a barrel by 0912 GMT.

Traders said weekly USA fuel supply data would give further market guidance.

Oil prices have been in a volatile situation for the past few days, due to concerns over a continuous trade dispute between the U.S. and China, and uncertainty over the supply and demand balance of global oil markets.

Chinese and USA officials have also softened their rhetoric over their trade spat, easing worries over the potential for a slowdown in demand for oil.

Turning to data, unofficial figures from the American Petroleum Institute suggest that both crude and gasoline stocks were higher last week (the consensus expected stocks to keep falling).

Analysts and traders have recently warned that booming US shale oil production could potentially derail OPEC's effort to end a supply glut.

"In addition to the risk of protectionism, there has been a significant change in the Trump administration that has raised risks of potential sanctions on key oil exporting countries including Iran, Venezuela and Russian Federation", U.S. bank JPMorgan said. "However, oil market fundamentals are tightening and oil prices looks set to be squeezed higher as long as OPEC+ sticks to its cuts".

JPMorgan said it expects Brent and WTI prices to average $69.50 and $65.20 per barrel in 2018, respectively, while it forecasts $64 per barrel for Brent and $58.50 per barrel for WTI in 2019.

The United States late past year overtook top exporter Saudi Arabia as the world's second biggest crude producer.

Oil markets have generally been supported by healthy demand as well as supply restraint led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Previous US sanctions has already hit Iran's production by more than 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd).

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