From the Field
Oil up more than 1% on OPEC cuts
LONDON, January 18, 2019 – Oil prices gained more than 1% on Friday in Asia, after reports late Thursday of a possible relaxation of U.S. tariffs on China improved the outlook for global demand.
The market also came round to a more positive interpretation of the monthly report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) earlier Thursday, which showed that the cartel’s production fell sharply in December.
OPEC reported that its oil supplies plunged by 751,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December to 31.58 million bpd, the biggest month-on-month drop in almost two years.
In particular, Saudi Arabia’s output plunged by 468,000 bpd to just over 10.5 million bpd last month, independent figures showed.
OPEC’s report suggested that its deal to cut output in coordination with Russia would only just be enough to keep the global market balanced this year, as it will likely be offset by another big rise in U.S. output.
The Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that U.S. crude output grew by 200,000 barrels from a week earlier to reach a record high of 11.9 million bpd last week. In a separate report on Tuesday, the EIA said U.S. production could possibly hit 13 million bpd by 2020.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil WTI were at $52.78 per barrel at 1:42 AM ET (06:42 GMT), up 1.4%, from their last settlement. International Brent Oil Futures were up 1.3% at $61.95 per barrel.
Separately, citing an OPEC official, oilprice.com reported on Friday that OPEC will hold an extraordinary meeting on April 17, while the cartel’s non-OPEC partners will join for a full OPEC+ meeting on the following day.
The meeting has been called to discuss the current state of the oil market and whether or not to extend the production cuts which are currently due to expire in June.
Crude got off to a powerful start for 2019 after OPEC cuts and Saudi whispers for $80 oil led to an impressive 25% gain within the first two weeks from the 18-month lows of $42.36 hit by WTI on Christmas Eve.
The EIA also reported on Wednesday outsize builds in U.S. gasoline inventories and distillate stockpiles that offset a weekly drop in crude in storage.