US oil retreats from 2019 high as production soars

An oil rig drilling in shale in North Dakota. (AFP)
Updated 15 March 2019
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US oil retreats from 2019 high as production soars

  • Market is awaiting the outcome of the OPEC+ meeting for signs of future demand

NEW YORK: US crude futures briefly hit a 2019 high on Friday but retreated along with benchmark Brent oil as worries about the global economy and robust US production put a brake on prices.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were down 12 cents at $58.49 per barrel at 12:08 p.m. EDT (16:08 GMT), having hit their highest so far this year at $58.95.

Brent crude futures were at $66.85 per barrel, down 38 cents from their last settlement, and below their 2019 peak of $68.14 reached on Thursday.

US crude was on track to end the week 3.2 percent higher, and Brent was up 1.7 percent.

“The market is taking a pause as it tries to digest mixed reports that give us different ideas of future supply and demand,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures group in Chicago. “The OPEC+ meeting could give us a little direction,” he said.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil producing countries, including Russia, who form OPEC+, agreed last year to cut production, partly in response to increased US shale output.

OPEC+ ministers will meet on April 17-18 to decide production policy.

“If OPEC+ decide to extend (cuts), we expect that inventories will continue to draw through at least Q3,” US investment bank Jefferies said.

The International Energy Agency said on Friday that the market could show a modest surplus in the first quarter of 2019 before flipping into a deficit in the second quarter by about 0.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

It said a comfortable supply cushion by OPEC could prevent any price rally in case of possible disruptions and that non-OPEC oil output growth led by the United States should ensure demand is met.

Oil price gains have been limited by concerns that an economic slowdown that has gripped large parts of Asia and Europe will dent growth in fuel demand. However, oil consumption has held up so far.

Crude oil use in China, the world’s biggest importer, in the first two months of 2019 rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier to a record 12.68 million bpd, official data showed this week.

Goldman Sachs said growth in global demand for crude in January was “nearly 2.0 million barrels per day, with strength visible in both emerging markets and developed economies.”


Egypt’s aviation ministry to increase departure fee for travelers in November: Reports 

Updated 5 min 27 sec ago
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Egypt’s aviation ministry to increase departure fee for travelers in November: Reports 

  • Media said the increase to the passenger departure fee will raise the amount to $25

CAIRO: Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has reportedly announced a $5 increase in the travelers’ departure fee starting from next November, local newspapers reported on Tuesday.

Media said the increase to the passenger departure fee will raise the amount to $25, to be obtained indirectly for each passenger flying on regular or charter flights — both internationally and domestically — from Egyptian airports. 

The rate has not changed since 2013, the ministry said in a statement quoted by Al-Ahram Newspaper

The proposed increase was adopted by the Supreme Council for Pricing after "careful consideration" and according to normal practice in airports worldwide, it added.  

The ministry said the increase is in line with the challenges and demands needed for the development of the entire service system at Egyptian airports.