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Oil Rises on Demand Signs After Goldman Flags Geopolitical Risks

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  • Oil Rises on Demand Signs After Goldman Flags Geopolitical Risks

Oil extended gains as signs of declining U.S. stockpiles pointed to healthy demand while investors weighed potential disruptions to supply because of global geopolitical tensions.

Futures in New York rose as much as 0.6 percent after adding 2.5 percent in the past three sessions. An industry report showed U.S. inventories fell last week, with government data Wednesday forecast to show a fourth straight drop. Crude’s recent gains have been driven by fighting between the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces in the oil-rich Kirkuk region, which could stoke tensions beyond the country’s borders.

Iraq is just one of the oil market’s geopolitical risks, with uncertainty also growing over tensions between Iran and the U.S., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Tuesday. The Persian Gulf nation said it would support an extension of OPEC output cuts to the end of 2018 and insisted its production plans won’t be disrupted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s disavowal of the nuclear deal that’s boosted its exports.

“With Iraq and the Kurds, the effect of geopolitical risks on oil production is starting to be priced in again,” said Hans Van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “That’s one of the reasons we think that oil prices can go up further. The inventory data is coming up later today — that will be another driver. After the hurricane I think there is a good chance that there is a bullish report, and that is starting to be priced in.”

West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery rose as much as 29 cents to $52.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was trading at $52.06 as of 11:52 a.m. in London. Total volume traded was about 41 percent below the 100-day average. Prices on Tuesday added 1 cent to close at $51.88, the highest since Sept. 27.

Brent for December settlement rose as much as 56 cents, or 1 percent, to $58.44 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $5.99 to WTI for December.

U.S. inventories fell by 7.13 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report. Data from the Energy Information Administration Wednesday is forecast to show a 3.25 million-barrel slide.

While Iraq’s government is clashing with Kurdish forces in the north of the OPEC nation, raising the prospect of output disruptions in the region, both sides have an incentive to keep oil flowing due to low production costs and “high revenue” available per barrel, according to Goldman Sachs.

The Iraqi government offensive was triggered by a non-binding Kurdish referendum on independence that was approved overwhelmingly in September and made more politically charged by the regional government’s decision to include Kirkuk, even though it lies outside the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The area is home to the country’s oldest oil field.

Other oil-market news:

  • While Trump’s administration has hardened its stance against Iran, there’s still “high uncertainty” over whether the U.S. will reimpose sanctions that could curb crude supply, Goldman said.
  • The U.S. president’s statement on Iran was “chest-beating” and has “little or no effect” on the Islamic Republic’s oil plans, Amir Zamaninia, deputy minister for trade and international affairs at Iran’s Oil Ministry, said Tuesday.
  • The oil market is slowly rebalancing as lower prices boost demand, Total SA Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said a the Oil & Money conference in London on Wednesday.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Nigeria Pumps 236.2 Million Barrels in First Half of 2024

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Nigeria pumped 236.2 million barrels of crude oil in the first half of 2024, according to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

This figure represents an increase from the 219.5 million barrels produced during the same period in 2023.

In January, Nigeria produced 44.2 million barrels of crude oil while February saw a slight dip to 38.3 million barrels, with March following closely at 38.1 million barrels.

April and May production stood at 38.4 million barrels and 38.8 million barrels, respectively. June’s output remained consistent at 38.3 million barrels, demonstrating a stable production trend.

Despite the overall increase compared to 2023, the 2024 production figures still fall short of the 302.42 million barrels produced in the same period in 2020.

This ongoing fluctuation underscores the challenges facing Nigeria’s oil sector, which has experienced varying production levels over recent years.

On a daily basis, Nigeria’s crude oil production showed some variability. In January, the average daily production peaked at 1.43 million barrels per day (mbpd), the highest within the six-month period.

February’s production dropped to 1.32 mbpd, with a further decrease to 1.23 mbpd in March. April saw a modest increase to 1.28 mbpd, which then fell again to 1.25 mbpd in May. June ended on a positive note with a slight rise to 1.28 mbpd.

The fluctuations in daily production rates have prompted government and industry leaders to address underlying issues.

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), has highlighted the detrimental effects of oil theft and vandalism on Nigeria’s production capabilities.

Kyari emphasized that addressing these security challenges is critical to boosting production and attracting investment.

Kyari also noted recent efforts to combat illegal activities, including the removal of over 5,800 illegal connections from pipelines and dismantling more than 6,000 illegal refineries.

He expressed confidence that these measures, combined with ongoing policy reforms, would support Nigeria’s goal of increasing daily production to two million barrels.

The Nigerian government remains focused on stabilizing and enhancing oil production. With recent efforts showing promising results, there is cautious optimism that Nigeria will achieve its production targets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Steady Amid Mixed Signals on Crude Demand

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Oil prices remained stable on Thursday as investors navigated conflicting signals regarding crude demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, settled at $85.11 a barrel, edging up by 3 cents, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dipped by 3 cents to $82.82 a barrel.

The stability comes as the U.S. economy shows signs of slowing, with unemployment benefit applications rising more than expected.

Initial claims increased by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 for the week ending July 1, prompting speculation that the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates sooner than anticipated. Lower rates could boost spending on oil, creating a bullish outlook for demand.

Fed officials suggested that improved inflation and a balanced labor market might lead to rate cuts, possibly by September.

“Healthy expectations of a Fed rate cut in the not-so-distant future will limit downside,” noted Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

However, rising jobless claims signal potential economic easing, which could dampen crude demand.

John Kilduff of Again Capital highlighted the impact of a slowing economy on oil consumption despite a significant drop in U.S. crude inventories last week.

Global factors also weighed on the market. China’s economic policies remain steady, though details are sparse, affecting investor sentiment in the world’s largest crude importer.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank maintained interest rates, citing persistent inflation.

An upcoming OPEC+ meeting in August is expected to assess market conditions without altering output policy, according to sources. This meeting will serve as a “pulse check” for market health.

Overall, oil prices are caught between economic concerns and hopes of a rate cut, maintaining a delicate balance.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Slide on China Demand Concerns, Brent Falls to $83.73

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Oil prices declined on Tuesday for the third consecutive day on growing concerns over a slowing Chinese economy and its impact on global oil demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dipped by $1.12, or 1.3% at $83.73 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped $1.15, or 1.4%, to close at $80.76.

The dip in oil prices is largely attributed to disappointing economic data from China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Official figures revealed a 4.7% growth in China’s GDP for the April-June period, the slowest since the first quarter of 2023, and below the forecasted 5.1% growth expected in a Reuters poll.

This slowdown was compounded by a protracted property downturn and widespread job insecurity, which have dampened fuel demand and led many Chinese refineries to cut back on production.

“Weaker economic data continues to flow from China as continued government support programs have been disappointing,” said Dennis Kissler, Senior Vice President of Trading at BOK Financial. “Many of China’s refineries are cutting back on weaker fuel demand.”

Despite the bearish sentiment from China, there is a growing consensus among market participants that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin cutting its key interest rates as soon as September.

This speculation has helped stem the decline in oil prices, as lower interest rates reduce the cost of borrowing, potentially boosting economic activity and oil demand.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted on Monday that the three U.S. inflation readings over the second quarter “add somewhat to confidence” that the pace of price increases is returning to the central bank’s target in a sustainable fashion.

This has led market participants to believe that a turn to interest rate cuts may be imminent.

Also, U.S. crude oil inventories provided a silver lining for the oil market. According to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures, U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 4.4 million barrels last week.

This was a much steeper drop than the 33,000 barrels decline that was anticipated, indicating strong domestic demand.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also weighed in, suggesting that while the global economy is set for modest growth over the next two years, risks remain.

The IMF noted cooling activity in the U.S., a bottoming-out in Europe, and stronger consumption and exports for China as key factors in the global economic landscape.

In summary, while oil prices are currently pressured by concerns over China’s economic slowdown, the potential for U.S. interest rate cuts and stronger domestic demand for crude are providing some support.

Market watchers will continue to monitor economic indicators and inventory levels closely as they gauge the future direction of oil prices.

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