Oil near 2019 highs on OPEC supply cuts, US sanctions

OPEC scrapped its planned meeting in April, effectively extending supply cuts that have been in place since January until at least June, when the next meeting is scheduled. (Reuters)
Updated 19 March 2019
0

Oil near 2019 highs on OPEC supply cuts, US sanctions

  • OPEC scrapped its planned meeting in April, effectively extending supply cuts that have been in place since January until at least June, when the next meeting is scheduled

SINGAPORE: Oil prices were near 2019 highs on Tuesday, supported by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC.
US sanctions against oil producers Iran and Venezuela are also boosting prices, although traders said the market may be capped by rising US output.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $59.10 per barrel at 0314 GMT, virtually unchanged from their last settlement and close to the 2019 high of $59.23 reached the previous day.
Brent crude oil futures were up 10 cents at $67.64 per barrel, also close to this year’s peak of $68.14 reached late last week.
In China, Shanghai crude futures, launched in March last year, bounced 4.5 percent from their last close to 467.6 yuan ($69.64) per barrel, also near 2019 highs of 475.7 yuan a barrel reached during a brief spike in February.
In dollar-terms, this pushed Shanghai crude into a premium over Brent.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Monday scrapped its planned meeting in April, effectively extending supply cuts that have been in place since January until at least June, when the next meeting is scheduled.
OPEC and a group of non-affiliated producers including Russia, known as OPEC+, started withholding supply to halt a sharp price drop in the second-half of 2018, when markets came under pressure from surging output as well as an economic slowdown.
“The OPEC+ deal has brought stability to crude prices and signs of an extension have taken crude higher,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA.
Prices have been further supported by US sanctions against oil exports from Iran and Venezuela, traders said.
Because of the tighter supply outlook for the coming months, the Brent forward curve has gone into backwardation since the start of the year, meaning that prices for immediate delivery are more expensive than those for dispatch further in the future, with May Brent prices currently around $1.20 per barrel more expensive than December delivery Brent.
Outside OPEC, analysts are eyeing US crude oil production, which has soared by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) since early 2018, to around 12 million bpd, making America the world’s biggest producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Weekly output and storage data will be published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
On the demand-side, there is concern that an economic slowdown will erode oil consumption.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note that economic “risks are skewed to the downside” and that “we forecast global demand growth of 1.2 million bpd year-on-year in 2019 and 1.15 million bpd during 2020.”
The bank said it expected “Brent and WTI to average $70 per barrel and $59 per barrel respectively in 2019, and $65 per barrel and $60 per barrel in 2020.”


Owner of Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank appoints chairman and CEO

Updated 21 April 2019
0

Owner of Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank appoints chairman and CEO

  • Eraiqat is currently group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)
  • Eraiqat will serve as chairman at Al Hilal in addition to his current role at ADCB

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi Islamic lender Al Hilal Bank said on Sunday its owner, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, had appointed Alaa Eraiqat as the bank's chairman.
Eraiqat is currently group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), which is expected to merge with Al Hilal Bank and Union National Bank (UNB) in the first half of 2019.
Eraiqat will serve as chairman at Al Hilal in addition to his current role at ADCB.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Council, a sovereign wealth fund which combined with Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala last year, also appointed Amr Saad Al Menhali as chief executive of Al Hilal Bank.