Oil crosses $70 in intra-day trade

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

Oil topped $70 a barrel in London for the first time in three years as production cuts by OPEC and rising demand whittle away a global surplus.

On the news, Brent Crude briefly broke the $70 a barrel mark before returning to its current price of $69.2 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose 1.5% to $64.5 a barrel before falling back to $63.5 in early morning trading.

Brent crude futures, used in the pricing of more than half the world's oil, rose as much as 1.2 percent to the highest since December 4, 2014. During an energy forum in Abu Dhabi, he said that significant progress has been made, but there is still more to be done. "On the other hand, most investors are still positioned to benefit from further price gains", he said.

Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said on Friday that oil prices at $65 to $70 a barrel risked encouraging more oversupply from United States shale drillers.

"The extension of the OPEC agreement ... and declining inventories are all helping to drive the price higher", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.

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"We don't look at the price in a day and say we are in a point where we need to do changes".

United States commercial crude stocks fell by nearly 5 million barrels in the week to January 5, to 419.5 million barrels.

According to CNBC, Suhail al-Mazrouei, the UAE oil minister and OPEC president, said the alliance between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, such as Russian Federation, could continue beyond the December 2018 deadline in an attempt to stabilise oil markets. China's crude imports in December fell 9 per cent month-on-month to 33.7 million tonnes, or 7.97 million bpd, customs data showed.

"The surging crude prices will put pressure on inflation, balance of payments and fiscal policy".

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