Why crude oil prices are on upward swing, by USA energy agency

Why crude oil prices are on upward swing, by USA energy agency

Oil prices ended higher on Wednesday ahead of the release of USA petroleum data that was expected to show a ninth straight weekly drawdown in crude inventories.

Tighter markets have lifted both crude benchmarks about 13 percent above levels in early December, helped by production curbs by OPEC and Russian Federation, as well as by healthy demand growth. On Monday, they hit their highest since December, 2014 at $70.37 a barrel.

However, prices stayed below recent three-year highs as fuel supplies remain ample and as refineries scaled back operations. Moderate profit correction is being witnessed but follow up buying is very strong.

"The upside is now limited for oil prices", said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at brokerage Forex.com. As at yesterday evening, Brent crude oil price settled at N69.87 per barrel while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) sold at N64.30 per barrel.The Secretary General, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, also identified other factors contributing to the recently gathered pace of rebalancing.

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Moreover, emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah urged participating countries to continue to show faith in implementing the voluntary production adjustments in 2018, until the common objective of returning OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) inventories to the five-year average is achieved and the supply-demand balance is restored.

WTI Crude oil futures stayed supported amid record high equities and falling United States crude oil inventories. In November, oil ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC member nations agreed to extend output cuts for the duration of 2018.

Brent has risen from $61 a barrel in early December and some analysts say the rally may be about to run out of steam. US shale oil output will increase by a good 111,000 barrels per day (bpd) next month to 10 million bpd, and. will rise to about 11 million bpd by the end of next year.

US crude output is expected to soon break 10 million bpd, challenging top producers Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

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