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Oil Prices Recover Slightly After Credit Suisse Bailout, but Oversupply Concerns Persist

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Crude Oil

Oil prices climbed on Thursday after Credit Suisse received a financial lifeline from Swiss regulators.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian oil, rose 0.7% to $74.23 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased by 0.6% to $68.04 a barrel.

The recovery came after three days of decline, with US crude falling below $70 a barrel for the first time since December 2021. However, market sentiment remained fragile with fears growing over the stress on banks globally.

Earlier today, Credit Suisse announced it has reached an agreement with the Swiss national bank to borrow $56bn to augment its liquidity. The announcement helped calm the market but fear of a possible financial crisis persists.

The rebound in oil prices was partly aided by the fall in US fuel stocks last week when Energy Information Administration data showed that crude inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels, gasoline and distillates stocks fell by a combined 4.6 million barrels.

According to Lim Tai An, an analyst at Phillip Nova, OPEC’s revised crude oil outlook for China demand in 2023 also help oil prices.

The oil producer group raised its 2023 China demand forecast this week and a monthly report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Wednesday flagged an expected boost to oil demand from resumed air travel and China’s economic reopening after abandoning its zero-COVID policy.

But oversupply concerns remain.

The IEA report said that commercial oil stocks in developed OECD countries have hit an 18-month high while Russian oil output in February stayed near levels registered before the war in Ukraine despite sanctions on its seaborne exports.

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

Oil Prices Decline for Third Consecutive Day on Weaker Economic Data and Inventory Concerns

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Oil prices extended their decline for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as concerns over weaker economic data and increasing commercial inventories in the United States weighed on oil outlook.

Brent oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 51 cents to $89.51 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell by 41 cents to $84.95 a barrel.

The softening of oil prices this week reflects the impact of economic headwinds on global demand, dampening the gains typically seen from geopolitical tensions.

Market observers are closely monitoring how Israel might respond to Iran’s recent attack, though analysts suggest that this event may not significantly affect Iran’s oil exports.

John Evans, an oil broker at PVM, remarked on the situation, noting that oil prices are readjusting after factoring in a “war premium” and facing setbacks in hopes for interest rate cuts.

The anticipation for interest rate cuts received a blow as top U.S. Federal Reserve officials, including Chair Jerome Powell, refrained from providing guidance on the timing of such cuts. This dashed investors’ expectations for significant reductions in borrowing costs this year.

Similarly, Britain’s slower-than-expected inflation rate in March hinted at a delay in the Bank of England’s rate cut, while inflation across the euro zone suggested a potential rate cut by the European Central Bank in June.

Meanwhile, concerns about U.S. crude inventories persist, with a Reuters poll indicating a rise of about 1.4 million barrels last week. Official data from the Energy Information Administration is awaited, scheduled for release on Wednesday.

Adding to the mix, Tengizchevroil announced plans for maintenance at one of six production trains at the Tengiz oilfield in Kazakhstan in May, further influencing market sentiment.

As the oil market navigates through a landscape of economic indicators and geopolitical events, investors remain vigilant for cues that could dictate future price movements.

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IEA Cuts 2024 Oil Demand Growth Forecast by 100,000 Barrels per Day

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Crude Oil

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reduced its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2024 by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The agency cited a sluggish start to the year in developed economies as a key factor contributing to the downward revision.

According to the latest Oil Market Report released by the IEA, global oil consumption has continued to experience a slowdown in growth momentum with first-quarter growth estimated at 1.6 million bpd.

This figure falls short of the IEA’s previous forecast by 120,000 bpd, indicating a more sluggish demand recovery than anticipated.

With much of the post-Covid rebound already realized, the IEA now projects global oil demand to grow by 1.2 million bpd in 2024.

Furthermore, growth is expected to decelerate further to 1.1 million bpd in the following year, reflecting ongoing challenges in the market.

This revision comes just a month after the IEA had raised its outlook for 2024 oil demand growth by 110,000 bpd from its February report.

At that time, the agency had expected demand growth to reach 1.3 million bpd for 2024, indicating a more optimistic outlook compared to the current revision.

The IEA’s latest demand growth estimates diverge significantly from those of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). While the IEA projects modest growth, OPEC maintains its forecast of robust global oil demand growth of 2.2 million bpd for 2024, consistent with its previous assessment.

However, uncertainties loom over the global oil market, particularly due to geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions.

The IEA has highlighted the impact of drone attacks from Ukraine on Russian refineries, which could potentially disrupt fuel markets globally.

Up to 600,000 bpd of Russia’s refinery capacity could be offline in the second quarter due to these attacks, according to the IEA’s assessment.

Furthermore, unplanned outages in Europe and tepid Chinese activity have contributed to a lowered forecast of global refinery throughputs for 2024.

The IEA now anticipates refinery throughputs to rise by 1 million bpd to 83.3 million bpd, reflecting the challenges facing the refining sector.

The situation has raised concerns among policymakers, with the United States expressing worries over the impact of Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian oil refineries.

There are fears that these attacks could lead to retaliatory measures from Russia and result in higher international oil prices.

As the global oil market navigates through these challenges, stakeholders will closely monitor developments and adjust their strategies accordingly to adapt to the evolving landscape.

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Federal Government Allows Indigenous Refineries to Purchase Crude Oil in Naira or Dollars

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Dangote Refinery

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced that domestic crude oil refiners and other operators in the sector are now permitted to buy crude oil in either naira or dollars.

This move comes as a response to longstanding demands from stakeholders in the industry and is poised to reshape the dynamics of the nation’s oil market.

The announcement was made on Monday through the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission during a briefing in Abuja.

According to the commission, the decision to allow the purchase of crude oil in naira or dollars aligns with the provisions of Section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.

The development of the new template involved collaboration with key stakeholders, including representatives from NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, Crude Oil/Condensate Producers, Crude Oil Refinery-Owners Association of Nigeria, and Dangote Petroleum Refinery.

Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, said the new template will ensure a seamless implementation of the Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation (DCSO) and maintain a consistent supply of crude oil to domestic refineries.

He highlighted that the flexibility to transact in either naira or dollars would alleviate pressure on the country’s foreign exchange rate, potentially benefiting the overall economy.

Responding to inquiries regarding the currency of transaction, Komolafe reiterated that payments could be made in either United States dollars or naira, or a combination of both, as agreed upon in the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) between the producer and the refiner.

This flexibility is expected to ease the financial burden on indigenous refineries and support their sustainability in the face of economic challenges.

The decision comes after modular refineries in Nigeria faced threats of shutdown due to difficulties in accessing foreign exchange for crude oil purchases.

These refineries with a combined capacity of producing 200,000 barrels of crude oil daily, struggled to secure dollars for purchasing crude, which is priced in US dollars.

The Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria had previously expressed concerns over the impact of the foreign exchange crisis on their operations.

Furthermore, alongside the announcement regarding crude oil purchases, the government revealed an increase in the country’s crude oil and condensate reserves to 37.5 billion barrels as of January 1, 2024.

Gas reserves also saw an uptick, reaching 209.26 trillion cubic feet during the same period, signifying substantial potential for future exploration and production activities.

As Nigeria navigates its oil and gas landscape, the decision to allow indigenous refineries to purchase crude oil in naira or dollars marks a significant step towards supporting local industry players and promoting economic stability in the sector.

With the potential to enhance operational efficiency and mitigate financial challenges, this policy shift holds promise for the growth and sustainability of Nigeria’s oil refining sector.

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