Oil rises as supply constraints outweigh China slowdown fears

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OPEC projects to tighter oil market in 2019

Oil prices on Friday as involuntary supply cuts from Venezuela and Iran plus conflict in Libya supported perceptions of a tightening crude market, while upbeat Chinese economic data eased concerns about waning crude demand.

"Pressure to global supplies continues to mount because of sanctions-linked problems in Iran and Venezuela and rising geopolitical risk in Libya", said Stephen Innes, head of trading at SPI Asset Management.

The IEA maintained its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2019.

That is down 9.4 percent from 10.23 million bpd in February as state-owned refiners began maintenance. Demand for OPEC crude in 2018 averaged 31.35 million bpd.

Both benchmarks notched a weekly gain of about 1 percent, which was Brent's third consecutive week of gains and the sixth straight rise for WTI.

OPEC and its allies led by Russian Federation are due to meet in Vienna on June 25-26 to set their policy.

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OPEC, Russia and other non-member producers are reducing output by 1.2 million bpd from January 1 for six months.

Saudi Arabia's crude oil production slumped to the lowest in two years as the Kingdom slashed its production by more than promised to boost prices.

The report also said that Angola was one of China's three largest oil suppliers, together with Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, with shares of 11.3%, 15.2% and 14.6% in February, respectively.

Meanwhile, the latest EIA report showed that the USA crude inventories rose 7 million barrels to 456.6 million barrels in the last week, their highest since November 2017.

At the last OPEC meeting in Vienna, the group's members agreed to slash output by 812,000 bpd, with Russian Federation and nine other non-OPEC allies committing to a cut of 383,000 bpd for the first six months of 2019.

Iraq's production fell marginally to 4.52 million bpd in March, slightly above its quota of 4.51 million bpd, according to OPEC secondary sources. Though the rig count itself is a lagging indicator, with additional production showing up with a five-to-six-week latency after new drilling is reported, it is an important gauge to market participants trying to determine if US output is surging again.

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