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

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.


Banking shares help key Saudi index edge up 0.2 percent

Updated 50 min 32 sec ago

Banking shares help key Saudi index edge up 0.2 percent

  • Property shares weigh on Egypt; other Gulf markets mixed

Most Gulf stock markets moved marginally amid falling oil prices on Wednesday, while Egypt’s blue-chip index declined, led by property shares.

DUBAI: Oil prices slipped toward $59 a barrel on data showing a bigger-than-expected rise in US crude stocks, while the prospect of deeper output cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies offered support.

Saudi Arabia’s index extended gains from the previous session to close 0.2 percent up. Al-Rajhi Bank gained 0.7 percent, while Alinma Bank rose a further 1.3 percent.     

On Tuesday, Alinma reported a rise in third-quarter profit to SR713 million ($190.10 million) compared to 637 million a year earlier.    

However, gains were capped by losses in petrochemical stocks.

Sahara International Petrochemical (Sipchem) slid 2.8 percent following a more than 38 percent plunge in third-quarter net profit.

The petrochemical maker said it was due to a decrease in selling prices for most of the products.

Egypt’s blue-chip index decreased 0.5 percent, with most stocks on the index falling. Property stock Talaat Mostafa lost 1.7 percent and El-Sewedy Electric was down 1.5 percent. Among other stocks, developer Madinet Nasr also decreased 1.9 percent. 

Egypt’s nonoil private sector contracted for the second consecutive month in September, according to the IHS Markit Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).     

In Dubai, the index closed 0.3 percent down with Emaar Properties shedding 1.1 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank  falling 0.6 percent. 

The Abu Dhabi Index added 0.3 percent, extending gains for a third straight session, with First Abu Dhabi Bank and Aldar Properties gaining 0.4 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. 

Qatar’s index dipped 0.2 percent, extending losses for a fifth straight session, as Qatar Fuel declined 1.6 percent and Mesaieed Petrochemical ended 2.2 percent lower.

But Commercial Bank edged up 0.2 percent after it reported a rise in nine-month profit to QR1.50 billion ($412.09 million) compared to QR1.35 billion a year earlier.