- Strong Demand Pushes Oil Near $80
Brent crude oil rose for a sixth day yesterday to hit its highest since November 2014 at over $75 per barrel.
This development is buoyed by expectations that supplies will tighten just as demand reaches record levels.
Brent crude futures marked $75.27 a barrel yesterday.
Brent’s six-day rising streak is the longest such string of gains since December, with prices up more than 20 per cent from 2018-lows plumbed in February.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $69.17 a barrel.
Markets have been lifted by supply cuts, which were introduced in 2017 with the aim of propping up the market, led by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The potential of renewed United States (U.S.) sanctions against Iran is also pushing prices higher.
The U.S. has until May 12 to decide whether it will leave the Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions against OPEC’s third-largest producer.
This would further tighten global supplies.
“Crude prices are now sitting at the highest levels in three years, reflecting ongoing concerns around geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which is the source of nearly half of the world’s oil supply,’’ ANZ bank said.
OPEC’s efforts to tighten markets are being led by Saudi Arabia, the top exporter Saudi Arabia, where state-controlled oil firm Saudi Aramco, is pushing for higher prices ahead of a partial listing planned for later this year or 2019.
“Oil strength is coming from Saudi Arabia’s recent commitment to get oil back up to between $70 to 80 per barrel and inventory levels that are back in the normal range,’’ said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
OPEC’s supply curtailments and the threat of new sanctions are occurring just as demand in Asia, the world’s biggest oil consuming region, has risen to a record as new and expanded refineries startup from China to Vietnam.