Oil prices rise for a second day on China demand, US stockpile drop

OPEC and its partners will decide in June whether to continue to curb their production, although concerns have arisen over Russia’s willingness to stick with the cuts. (Reuters)
Updated 17 April 2019
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Oil prices rise for a second day on China demand, US stockpile drop

  • China’s refinery throughput in March rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 12.49 million barrels per day
  • OPEC and its partners will decide in June whether to continue to curb their production

SEOUL: Oil prices rose for a second day on Wednesday on signs of strong demand from refineries in China, the world’s second-largest crude user, amid tightening supply as producers curtail output and as oil inventories in the United States fell unexpectedly.
International benchmark Brent crude oil futures rose 21 cents, or 0.29 percent, to $71.93 a barrel by 0319 GMT. Brent gained as much 0.5 percent to 72.08 a barrel, the highest since Nov. 8 and the highest this year.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $64.45 per barrel, up 40 cents, or 0.6 percent from their previous settlement.
“Crude oil futures edged up as market sentiments were buoyed by a surprise drawdown in US crude oil inventories and tighter market fundamentals in the current term,” said Benjamin Lu, commodities analyst at Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures.
China’s refinery throughput in March rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 53.04 million tons, or 12.49 million barrels per day (bpd), data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.
The steady demand growth in China is occurring as a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, to limit their output by 1.2 million bpd in 2019 has curtailed global supplies.
Crude oil supply has also declined in 2019 as the United States imposed economic sanctions on OPEC members Venezuela and Iran.
The tightening supply and demand fundamentals have pushed WTI up more than 40 percent this year and Brent up by more than 30 percent.
In June, OPEC and its partners will decide whether to continue to curb their production, although concerns have arisen over Russia’s willingness to stick with the cuts.
Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas company Gazprom, expected the global oil deal between OPEC and its allies to end in the first half of the year, a company official said on Tuesday.
“As the possibility of Russia ending the OPEC deal remains, that is capping further gains,” said Kim Kwang-rae, commodity analyst at Samsung Futures in Seoul.
An unexpected fall in US crude inventories also supported higher oil prices.
US crude inventories fell by 3.1 million barrels in the week ended April 12 to 452.7 million, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 1.7 million barrels, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) released on Tuesday.
Official data on US inventories from the Energy Information Administration is due to be released on Wednesday.


Boeing abandons 2019 outlook after 737 MAX aircraft groundings

Updated 24 April 2019
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Boeing abandons 2019 outlook after 737 MAX aircraft groundings

  • Boeing’s core earnings fell to $1.99 billion, or $3.16 per share
  • The planemaker said it faced $1 billion in increased costs in the first-quarter ended March 31

Boeing missed sharply-lowered Wall Street estimates for revenue and cashflow in the first quarter and suspended its 2019 outlook, as the world’s largest planemaker continued to suffer from the grounding of its 737 MAX jets.

The company said it faced $1 billion in increased costs in the first-quarter ended March 31, related to the 737 aircraft as it halted deliveries of the grounded planes to customers around the globe.

The company also said it was halting share buybacks.

The fallout of a second deadly crash within months in March has seen Boeing cut production of the jets to 42 aircraft per month, down from 52, and its operating cash flow in the first quarter was around $350 million lower than a year earlier.

Boeing is also spending on developing a fix for an anti-stall software known by the acronym MCAS, which has been a common link in the separate chains of events leading to the two crashes within a span of five months.

The company said it would be issuing a new forecast in the future when it has more clarity around the issues surrounding the 737 MAX.

First-quarter operating cash flow declined to $2.79 billion, from $3.14 billion, missing the Wall Street’s average estimate of $2.82 billion.

Revenue fell 2 percent to $22.92 billion, below analysts’ average estimate of $22.98 billion.

Excluding certain items, Boeing said its core earnings fell to $3.16 per share, in the quarter from $3.64 per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected Boeing to earn $3.16 per share.