Oil prices drifted slightly lower at the third trading session of the week on worries about energy demand in Europe, even as hopes of a recovery in U.S. oil supply chain activity were boosted by industry data that showed U.S. crude stockpiles plunged for last week.
At press time, the U.S based oil contract often referred to as the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped by 0.1% to trade at $64.75 a barrel.
Brent crude futures were also down by 0.2%, to trade at $68.29 a barrel. The energy market has suffered significant losses in the past few days amid concerns about stalled vaccine rollouts slowing recovery in fuel demand.
- Leading Western European nations which include Germany, France, and Italy recently suspended usage of the AstraZeneca /University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine over rising concerns about possible side effects. Others including Ireland and the Netherlands, have already suspended usage.
- Oil traders anticipate such delays in COVID-19 vaccine usage could potentially delay economic recovery from the COVID-19 virus and adversely affect energy demand.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi in a note to Nairametrics spoke on the prevailing fundamentals keeping oil prices at best neutral;
“The market was wrong-footed but still pleasantly surprised after US oil stockpiles unexpectedly fell last week as a narrower weekly draw in gasoline stocks signaled that refiner activity was normalizing after a big freeze in Texas smothered production the previous month.
“However, still possibly capping near-term prices, word on the street is that China is buying close to 1mb/d of sanctioned Iranian crude at discounted prices, displacing oil from its usual suppliers, and complicating OPEC+ efforts to tighten supply and accelerate the draw-down global inventories.”
What to expect; the crude oil market is likely to remain under soft pressure from headlines that global Covid-19 infections ticked up last week and concerns over side effects within one of the primary subscribed COVID-19 vaccines.
Oil prices surge over China’s growing appetite for energy
British based contract ticked up by 0.3% to trade at $63.59 a barrel while the WTI futures edged near $60 a barrel.
Oil prices rallied high at the second trading session of the week as data from the world’s second-largest oil consumer’s (China) import growth picked up coupled with rising tensions in the Middle East after rebels from Yemen disclosed that they fired missiles on Saudi’s energy infrastructure.
At the time of writing this report, the British based contract ticked up by 0.3% to trade at $63.59 a barrel while the West Texas Intermediate futures edged near $60 a barrel.
The world’s second-largest economy recorded impressive gains for last month in yet another boost to China’s economic recovery as global demand gained momentum. Crude oil imports into China surged by 21% in March from a low base of comparison a year earlier.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi in a note to Nairametrics spoke on the parabolic of the energy market, as oil traders seem to be uninspired on the resurging COVID-19 virus;
“The oil market’s magnetic attraction to the $63 level should tell us much about the near-term outlook amid conflicting signal of new Covid waves coming to shore ahead of what should be a summer gasoline buying bonanza.
But overall, this is an oil market that feels completely uninspired outside of a few micro lurches here and there.
Still, positive comments on the US economy from Fed Chairman Powell help to reassure the outlook for oil demand, balancing concerns about the continued spread of Covid-19 in some regions.”
What to expect
Recent price actions suggest oil traders might hold the $60 a barrel baseline in the near term even if U.S Treasury yields surge while struggling to resolve with what form and fashion the next leg of the reflation trade will take.
Oil prices stay on course as Saudi’s Energy Minister reassures traders
British based oil contract traded at about $63 a barrel while the WTI futures were trading slightly below the $60 price level.
Crude oil prices remained relatively firm at the early hours of Friday’s trading session as oil traders digested Saudi Arabia’s defense of OPEC+ plans in raising output thereby capping gains.
At press time, the British based oil contract traded at about $63 a barrel while the West Texas Intermediate futures were trading slightly below the $60 price level.
Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman recently revealed that there were no pressing concerns of demand/supply dynamics changing gear amid the gradual boost in outputs in an interview aired on Thursday, adding that OPEC+ had all ammunition put in place to change course if necessary. OPEC+ will continue to meet monthly on reviewing the energy market supply dynamics.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi in a note to Nairametrics spoke on the prevailing market sentiment amid macros pointing to more oil supplies hitting the sensitive energy market and an upsurge in COVID-19 caseloads.
“Positioning is much cleaner, although the market remains directionally long oil. However, the sudden calm and drop in volatility have attracted passive investors back to the fray as the market structure around prompt spreads start to tighten and the dollar begins to roll over.
“Still, the conflicting signals around OPEC+ supply coming back to market amid spiking coronavirus case numbers in India plus parts of Canada as well as Tokyo backtracking into the lockdown Abyss, together with reports linking the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine workhorse to the higher frequency of blood clots, continues to hold the bulls at bay.”
What to expect: The most recent OPEC+ agreement on releasing barrels into such present demand was not out of place – suggesting the futuristic price of oil might range between the $60 -$70 price levels with production normalization vs current high excess production capacity taken into consideration.
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