Oil stable on talk of possible OPEC output cuts

US crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels in the week ending Nov. 2, to 431.79 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said. (Reuters)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Oil stable on talk of possible OPEC output cuts

  • Iran sanctions are now in place but oil is still in ample availability
  • OPEC-led production cuts next year cannot be ruled out

SINGAPORE: Oil prices were stable on Thursday, supported by rumblings from within OPEC that production curbs may become necessary again to prevent a return of global oversupply.
But soaring US crude output, which hit a record 11.6 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, kept a lid on prices.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $61.69 per barrel at 0221 GMT, 2 cents above their last settlement.
Front-month Brent crude oil futures were down 6 cents at $72.01 a barrel.
A group of producers around the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as Russia decided last June to relax output curbs in place since 2017, after pressure from US President Donald Trump to reduce oil prices and make up for supply losses from Iran.
But with Iran sanctions now in place and oil still in ample availability, OPEC-led production cuts next year cannot be ruled out, two OPEC sources said on Wednesday.
“OPEC and Russia may use cuts to support $70 per barrel,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.
“The introduction of US sanctions earlier this week against Iran failed to lift the market given the announcement that eight countries, including three of the world’s biggest importers, would receive waivers to carry on buying Iranian crude for up to six months,” Hansen said.
Preventing oil prices from rising any further has been a relentless rise in US crude output, which hit a record 11.6 million bpd in the week ending Nov. 2, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released on Wednesday.
That’s a threefold increase from the US low reached a decade ago, and a 22.2 percent rise just this year. It makes the United States the world’s biggest producer of crude oil.
More US oil will likely come. The EIA expects output to break through 12 million bpd by mid-2019, thanks largely to a surge in shale oil production.
Meanwhile, US crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels in the week ending Nov. 2, to 431.79 million barrels, the EIA said.
Crude stocks moved back above their five-year average levels in October.
Production has not just risen in the United States, but also in many other countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Brazil, stoking producer concerns of a return of oversupply that depressed oil prices between 2014 and 2017.
“Producers are concerned about the potential oversupply ... after EIA reported that crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.


Dubai carrier Emirates reports 86% plunge in first-half profit

Updated 15 November 2018
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Dubai carrier Emirates reports 86% plunge in first-half profit

DUBAI: Emirates airline on Thursday reported an 86 percent fall in first-half profit, as higher fuel costs and unfavorable currency exchange rates eroded earnings.
Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, made 226 million dirhams ($62 million) in the six months to Sept. 30, compared to 1.7 billion a year earlier.
Revenue rose 10 percent to 48.9 billion dirhams.
Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori warned on Tuesday earnings would be squeezed by higher fuel costs and a strong dollar. Concerns about the global economy and political instability had also weakened profit, he said.