Oil prices keep rising amid supportive comments

The world’s most expensive oil

Global Look Press

WTI light sweet oil was down 35 cents at USD63.47 a barrel, having touched its highest since December 2014.

With global oil prices solid at the moment and expected to rise, the 11 million barrels a day forecast is ominous for the buoyant oil market and OPEC in particular which may be forced to extend is production cap past the end of 2018 and well into 2019.

The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was up 0.44 percent at 9:20 a.m. EST to $68.08 per barrel. Earlier prices rose to $63.57, the highest since December 9, 2014.

Taking advantage of their competitive prices, USA crude oil exports are rising, including to faraway Asia.

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"It was the typical market reaction as oil initially jumped due to the drop in oil inventories, then [it sank] in that gasoline stockpiles surged, which prompted selling".

The agency said its forecast of $60 Brent this year and $61 in 2019 is based on an expectation that global oil inventories will rise this year and next, contributing to a decline in Brent prices in the first quarter of the year, with prices expected to remain relatively flat thereafter through 2019.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled at US$63.57 a barrel, up 61 cents, or 1 per cent, their highest settlement since December of 2014.

The market was bolstered modestly by data showing a sharp decline in US production last week. That was slightly below the five-year average of just over 420 million barrels, the target for OPEC and others cutting output. "This reduction in the size of excess stocks emerged as a catalyst for higher oil prices".

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More immediate price support came overnight from the United states, where crude inventories fell nearly 5 million barrels in the week to January 5, to 419.5 million barrels.

Oil markets have generally been supported by a production cut led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russian Federation that started in January past year and is set to last through 2018. "It must be kept in mind that rising production from US shale has the ability to expose oil to downside risks", said Lukman Otunuga, Analyst at futures brokerage FXTM.

Fatih Birol, head of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, said oil prices at $65 to $70 risked encouraging more oversupply from US shale drillers.

"Oil prices have been undeniably bullish this week despite the lingering concerns over the current bull rally running out of steam".

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"The lower draw in crude oil stocks, combined with the strong builds in product stocks is bearish news for prices". This is the first STEO to forecast through 2019 and it contains updates for 2018 forecasts.

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