Oil stable amid expectations Opec will cut supply to prevent glut forming

Mae Love
November 20, 2018

Brent settled up 14 cents at $66.76 per barrel but fell 4.6 percent in the week, the sixth consecutive decline; West Texas Intermediate settled unchanged at $56.46 per barrel, having fallen 5.6 percent in the week, also its sixth straight weekly decline. "We've seen a significant exodus of a lot of the speculative length in the market".

WTI crude fell to the lows of the day on the headline and is down $0.80 to $55.66.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that the European Union is backing French government's decision to sanction Iran nationals linked to a bomb plot in France.

Following a 12-day losing streak, crude oil gained traction last week as various OPEC officials said that OPEC+ was planning to introduce an additional output cut of 1- 1.4 million barrels per day to help the oil market find balance.

Oil shot back up following six weeks of losses as speculation of OPEC weighing bigger output cuts overshadowed signs of expanding American crude production.

Futures in NY increased 0.3%, paring earlier gains of as much as 1.5%.

The French bank said this was due to "sizeable" losses in Iranian exports expected because of USA sanctions against Tehran and because of risks of disruptions in Venezuela and also Libya and Nigeria.

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Oil prices edged up on Tuesday as markets expected producer club OPEC to agree to supply cuts at their next meeting on December 6, aimed at preventing oversupply amid slowing demand growth and a surge in output from the United States.

While a large cut would support crude futures, clear signals from producers are needed, Yawger said. The group and its allies are considering cutting production by more than 1 million barrels a day as they're increasingly anxious about the potential for oversupply, people familiar with the matter said.

USA crude stockpiles have grown for eight straight weeks, and data last week showed inventories swelled by the most in more than a year, weighing on the market. "It is not unreasonable to anticipate stable prices until then", PVM Oil Associates strategist Tamas Varga said.

Brent is nearly 25 percent below early October's 2018 peak of $86.74 on evidence of slowing global demand while output from the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia hit historic highs.

The rising drilling activity points to a further increase in U.S. crude oil production, which has already jumped by nearly a quarter this year, to a record 11.7 million bpd.

This month, fund managers cut their bullish exposure to crude futures and options to the lowest since around mid-2017.

"The main trend remains bearish as investors no longer believe in a risk of supply tightness for crude", ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said.

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