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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Slide as Demand Concerns in US and China Outweigh Supply Tightening Efforts



Crude oil - Investors King

In a turbulent start to the week, oil prices witnessed a decline as worries about fuel demand in the world’s leading oil consumers, the United States and China, outweighed optimistic sentiments regarding supply tightening measures implemented by OPEC+ and the resumption of US purchases for reserves.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for oil, declined by 26 cents or 0.35%, settling at $73.91 per barrel by 7:41 am. Simultaneously, US West Texas Intermediate crude oil stood at $69.34 per barrel, representing a decline of 20 cents or 0.29%.

Over the past week, both benchmarks recorded their fourth consecutive weekly decline, the longest such streak since September 2022. These declines were primarily fueled by concerns that the United States might plunge into a recession due to the looming “significant risk” of a historic default in the first two weeks of June.

The search for safe havens among investors resulted in a strengthened US dollar, making dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

CMC Markets analyst Tina Teng highlighted that “Oil prices are still under pressure on sluggish demand outlooks as China’s economic reopening progress seems bumpy.” Teng further noted that market jitters were triggered by the recent banking rout in the US.

In the upcoming week, investors will closely scrutinize China’s array of economic data, including industrial output, fixed assets investment, and retail sales, searching for signs of improvement in oil demand.

IG analyst Tony Sycamore expressed his skepticism, stating that “With the uneven re-opening in China and concerns that the US is facing a growth slowdown at a time when the X-date for the debt ceiling is rapidly approaching, topped off by a rally in the US dollar, market sentiment towards crude oil will remain tepid at best.”

Despite the prevailing concerns, the second half of the year might witness a tightening of global crude supplies. The OPEC+ alliance, comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, is enforcing additional output cuts, resulting in reduced availability of sour crude. According to Reuters calculations, the group announced in April that some members would decrease output by approximately 1.16 million barrels per day, bringing the total volume of cuts to 3.66 million bpd.

Nevertheless, Iraq’s oil minister, Hayan Abdel-Ghani, does not anticipate further output cuts during OPEC+’s next meeting in June.

On a different note, the United States is expected to recommence the repurchasing of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) following a congressionally mandated sale in June, as revealed by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during a recent congressional hearing.

This announcement coincided with a weekly report by energy services firm Baker Hughes Co (BKR.O), which indicated that the number of US oil rigs dropped by two to reach 586 this week, the lowest level since June 2022. Furthermore, the number of gas rigs witnessed a significant decline of 16, totaling 141.

Meanwhile, officials with direct knowledge of the discussions disclosed that leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations may announce new measures during their May 19-21 meetings, targeting sanctions evasion involving third countries. These strengthened sanctions aim to impede Russia’s future energy production and curb trade that supports the Russian military. India and China, the top two crude importers globally, have become key purchasers of Russian crude since the European Union imposed an embargo in December.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq,, 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



Crude oil

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



Crude Oil - Investors King

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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