- Crude Oil Prices Drop Days After Output Cut
Brent crude oil price dropped by 1.87 per cent to $53.93 a barrel after hitting $54.19 a barrel following the decision by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production output a week ago.
The price of Brent crude had risen by 4.5 per cent to $54.19 a barrel, its highest level this year.
The deal, OPEC’s first output cut for eight years, was designed to reverse a slump in global oil prices and was expected to see the group reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day from January 2017.
But a few days after the output cut, crude oil prices crashed with West Texas Intermediate declining by 1.69 per cent to $50.93.
Meanwhile, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), is uncertain about the extent the cut in production output would affect crude oil prices.
Lamenting the decline in crude oil prices on Wednesday, at a Petrotech 2016 Panel: OPEC Secretary General, Muhammed Barkindo, said that the downward spiral has given oil prices increased visibility in recent years in major economic centres and in various industry fora.
Barkindo, who spoke on: Uncertain Oil Prices in India, said: “During both cycles, low prices achieved only one thing: they dramatically choked off investments. Research and development spending was reduced. And drastic cost-cutting strategies were put into place across the board. Young people also lost any interest they might have had in making a career in the oil sector. And, in the long term, global supplies were put at risk.
“This, of course, sounds strikingly similar to the conditions we have been seeing lately – with global investments falling, oil revenue decreasing and impacts on the global economy, including declining trade. In fact, global exploration and production spending fell by around 26 per cent in 2015, and a further 22 per cent drop is anticipated in 2016. Combined, this amounts to more than $300 billion, and this trend is expected to extend into its third year, which is unprecedented in the history of oil industry.
“This is a stark contrast and challenge when we all know that, apart from the development aspirations and healthy economic growth of many producing countries, our capital intensive industry always requires huge investments for the production of new barrels, not only to meet growing demand but also to accommodate for decline rates from existing fields. With the current state of the oil market, the industry will simply not be able to comply with the massive oil-related investment requirements that are estimated to be around $10 trillion in the period to 2040.”
As in the previous downward cycles of the 1980s and 1990s, Barkindo said that it has been necessary to find a way to expedite the long-delayed rebalancing of the market in order to restore stability.
This current cycle’s recovery process, according to him, has taken far too long, and the risk of delaying the adjustment any longer would be costlier and more complicated with a host of negative implications in the coming years.
The IEA said in its December oil report that the extent to which the announced plans will be carried out and actually reduce supply below levels that would have occurred in their absence remains uncertain.
Oil Posts 2% Gain for the Week Despite India Virus Surge
Oil prices steadied on Friday and were set for a weekly gain against the backdrop of optimism over a global economic recovery, though the COVID-19 crisis in India capped prices.
Brent crude futures settled 0.28% higher at $68.28 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude advanced 0.29% to $64.90 per barrel.
Both Brent and WTI are on track for second consecutive weekly gains as easing restrictions on movement in the United States and Europe, recovering factory operations and coronavirus vaccinations pave the way for a revival in fuel demand.
In China, data showed export growth accelerated unexpectedly in April while a private survey pointed to strong expansion in service sector activity.
However, crude imports by the world’s biggest buyer fell 0.2% in April from a year earlier to 40.36 million tonnes, or 9.82 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest since December.
In the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, jobless claims have dropped, signalling the labour market recovery has entered a new phase as the economy recovers.
The recovery in oil demand, however, has been uneven as surging COVID-19 cases in India reduce fuel consumption in the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer.
“Brent came within a whisker of breaking past $70 a barrel this week but failed at the final hurdle as demand uncertainty dragged on prices,” said Stephen Brennock at oil brokerage PVM.
The resurgence of COVID-19 in countries such as India, Japan and Thailand is hindering gasoline demand recovery, energy consultancy FGE said in a client note, though some of the lost demand has been offset by countries such as China, where recent Labour Day holiday travel surpassed 2019 levels.
“Gasoline demand in the U.S. and parts of Europe is faring relatively well,” FGE said.
“Further out, we could see demand pick up as lockdowns are eased and pent-up demand is released during the summer driving season.”
Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to Commence Gold Trading
With the admission of Dukia Gold’s diversified financial instruments backed by gold as the underlying asset, Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange is set to commence gold trading.
According to Dukia Gold, the instruments will be in form of exchange-traded notes, commercial papers and other gold-backed securities, adding that it will enable the company to deepen the commodities market in Nigeria, increase capacity, generate foreign exchange for the Nigerian government to better diversify foreign reserves and create jobs across the metal production value chain.
Tunde Fagbemi, the Chairman, Dukia Gold, disclosed this while addressing journalists at Pre-Listing Media Interactive Session in Lagos on Thursday.
He said, “We are proud to be the first gold company whose products would be listed on the Lagos Futures and Commodities Exchange. The listing shall enable us facilitate our infrastructure development, expand capacity and create fungible products.
“This has potential to shore up Nigeria’s foreign reserve and create an alternative window for preservation of pension funds. A gold-backed security is a hedge against inflation and convenient preservation of capital.”
“As a global player, we comply with the practices and procedures of London Bullion Market Association and many other international bodies. Our refinery will also have multiplier effects on the development of rural areas anywhere it is located,” he added.
Mr Olusegun Akanji, the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, Heritage Bank, said the lender had created a buying centre for verification of quality and quantity of gold and reference price to ensure price discovery in line with the global standard.
Oil Nears $70 as Easing Western Lockdowns Boost Summer Demand Outlook
Oil prices rose for a third day on Wednesday as easing of lockdowns in the United States and parts of Europe heralded a boost in fuel demand in summer season and offset concerns about the rise of COVID-19 infections in India and Japan.
Brent crude rose 93 cents, or 1.4%, to $69.81 a barrel at 1008 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 85 cents, or 1.3%, to $66.54 a barrel.
Both contracts hit the highest level since mid-March in intra-day trade.
“A return to $70 oil is edging closer to becoming reality,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.
“The jump in oil prices came amid expectations of strong demand as western economies reopen. Indeed, anticipation of a pick-up in fuel and energy usage in the United States and Europe over the summer months is running high,” he said.
Crude prices were also supported by a large fall in U.S. inventories.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) industry group reported crude stockpiles fell by 7.7 million barrels in the week ended April 30, according to two market sources. That was more than triple the drawdown expected by analysts polled by Reuters. Gasoline stockpiles fell by 5.3 million barrels.
Traders are awaiting data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration due at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday to see if official data shows such a large fall.
“If confirmed by the EIA, that would mark the largest weekly fall in the official data since late January,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.
The rise in oil prices to nearly two-month highs has been supported by COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the United States and Europe.
Euro zone business activity accelerated last month as the bloc’s dominant services industry shrugged off renewed lockdowns and returned to growth.
“The partial lifting of mobility restrictions, the expectation that tourism will return in the near future, and the lure of the psychologically important $70 mark are all likely to have contributed to the price rise,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.
This has offset a drop in fuel demand in India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 infections.
“However, if we were to eventually see a national lockdown imposed, this would likely hit sentiment,” ING Economics analysts said of the situation in India.
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