Last week started with a flurry of speculator optimism deriving from the World Energy Congress in Istanbul during which the Russians backed Saudi efforts to raise prices using a production freeze, the details of which have yet to be determined. For the rest of the week, oil prices moved little as various reports affecting the oil markets showed that it is unlikely that a significant OPEC/Russian production agreement can be negotiated. The week ended with New York futures settling at $50.35 and London at $51.95. Most analysts do not expect any significant change in prices until the fate of the freeze becomes known around the end of November. In the meantime, technical exchange meetings will take place to see if an agreement can be worked out. Recent and projected increases in OPEC production make it likely that considerably larger production cuts than were agreed to at Algiers will be necessary to move prices higher. Goldman Sachs warned last week that the planned Russian/OPEC production freeze is unlikely to be enough to rebalance the markets in 2017.
Archive for April, 2013
“After a three-day rebound in reaction to the selloff the week before last, oil prices fell again on Thursday and Friday on bad economic news from the US, the EU, and possibly China. This time prices fell faster in the US than in London, widening the WTI-Brent spread back to nearly $12 a barrel at the close. With demand weak in the US and EU, and few signs of improvement in the near future, oil prices may push below $90 in New York and $100 in London…”
“Oil prices underwent their biggest weekly drop in six months last week as US employment numbers came in far worse than analysts had expected, US crude inventories increased to a 22-year high, and the EU’s unemployment rate rose to a record. At week’s end Brent crude was down to $104.12, the lowest in eight months, after having traded close to $112 on Tuesday. NY crude closed at $92.70; the 4.7 percent loss for the week was the biggest weekly loss since last September. The Brent-WTI spread continues to narrow and is now below $12 a barrel. So far this year, Brent crude has fallen 6.3 percent while WTI has increased 1 percent…”
“In a short trading week, oil prices rose steadily last week closing at $97.23 in New York and $109.93 in London. NY crude is now only $3 a barrel below the highs seen in mid February, but Brent crude is still $7 below these highs reflecting the tightening of the Brent-WTO spread to the smallest margin since July. Most of the gain last week was attributed to the “settlement” of the financial crisis on Cyprus and the report that the US economy grew by 0.4 percent in the 4th quarter rather than the 0.1 percent than had been expected…”