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Oil price rises on slower USA production, strong China imports

14 October, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • HG Research Independent Research Consultant Hans Goetti discusses the price and production of oil

Oil prices have dropped following reports of an increase in USA crude inventories despite the OPEC-led efforts to rebalance the market.

Oil prices edged up yesterday, rising for a third day, on signs that markets are gradually tightening after years of oversupply, although the outlook for 2018 remained less certain.

At the time of writing, WTI was trading at US$50.32 a barrel and Brent crude was at US$56.17 a barrel. For the week, Brent was up nearly 3 percent and USA was up over 4 percent.

"Looking into 2018, we see that three quarters out of four will be roughly balanced - again using an assumption of unchanged OPEC production, and based on normal weather conditions", the IEA said in its oil market report. Imports averaged 8.5 million bpd between January and September, solidifying China's position as the world's biggest oil importer.

China's robust imports have been driven by purchases for its strategic petroleum reserves (SPR).

Oil prices jumped Friday on a mix of factors, including bullish Chinese data and geopolitical risks from oil-rich regions in the Middle East.


Unrest in Iraq, and possible US action on the Iran nuclear deal, also underpinned prices.

The step would give the U.S. Congress 60 days to decide whether to impose sanctions, but Iran's parliament speaker told the TASS news agency that decertification would "be the end" of the deal and cause "global chaos".

On Friday, local television reported that tens of thousands of Kurdish fighters had deployed in the Kirkuk oil region to confront possible "threats" from Iraqi forces.

Despite the bullish signals, Bernstein Research said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries needed to extend its agreement to reduce oil output beyond its current March 2018 expiry date in order to clear stocks.

On the other hand, OPEC said in its latest Monthly Oil Market Report it had revised upwards its 2017 oil demand growth forecast by 30,000 bpd to 1.5 million bpd, which also helped to strengthen prices despite the cartel also reporting an increase in its September oil production to 32.75 million barrels - 25,000 bpd above the quota OEPC agreed to last November.

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