Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

OPEC cuts oil demand estimate in 2019

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Jean Garcia | 13 October, 2018, 22:56

Oil prices slumped to two-week lows on Thursday as global stock markets fell, with investor sentiment made more bearish by a report showing USA crude inventories rising more than expected.

US crude futures settled up less than 1 percent at $74.96 per barrel, reflecting the declining importance of the Gulf of Mexico in output because of the growth of production from the nation's onshore shale fields.

The U.S. WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude futures surged by 41 Cents or 0.5% and were at $74.70 a barrel.

In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, producers have cut daily oil production by roughly 42% due to Hurricane Michael, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

That's down from at least 2.5 million bpd in April, before President Donald Trump in May withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions. OPEC has been under the hit list from the USA for declining the increased outcome to answer rising oil prices.

India, a major buyer, has ordered Iranian oil for November, although New Delhi does not yet know whether it will receive such a waiver.

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The cartel cut its estimate for global demand for its crude next year due to weakening economic growth and higher output from rivals, notably US shale drillers.

"We still estimate oil demand growing at 1.2 million to 1.5 million barrels per day for this year, and see the risk of a slowdown in 2019 if trade tension escalates", ANZ Research analysts said in a report.

OPEC's September output increased 132,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 32.8 million bpd.

"So there is real commitment in the selling ... adding to the idea that we are seeing a turn in the market", he said.

Saudi Arabia and Libya increased output last month by 108,000 bpd and 103,000 bpd respectively, more than offsetting the 150,000-bpd decline from Iran to 3.447 million bpd, as reported by secondary sources.

Refinery crude runs fell by 352,000 barrels per day as utilisation rates dropped 1.6 percentage points, the EIA data showed. It may lower fuel demand in the USA southeastern markets by 1 million barrels a day, according to Mizuho Securities. USA light crude CLc1 was down 15 cents at $74.81. "In 2019, world oil demand growth is forecast at 1.36 mb/d, down by around 50 tb/d from last month's projections, mainly reflecting adjustments in the economic projections for Turkey, Brazil and Argentina", the report read.

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