March 22, 2018

Crude oil surges to biggest weekly gain this year

29 July 2017, 12:56 | Lionel James

Daily September West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil

Oil prices were sitting just below 8-week highs on Thursday, buoyed by hopes that a steeper-than-expected decline in USA crude oil inventories will reduce global oversupply.

At the St. Petersburg meeting of oil producers, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih's said: "Exports have now become the key metric for financial markets, and we need to find a way to reconcile credible export data with production data in our monitoring".

Brent crude oil futures rose 0.52 dollar or 1.02 percent to close at USD 51.49 a barrel at NYMEX.

USA oil prices surged toward the key $50 a barrel level this week, but the rally likely has little gas left in the tank, analysts say. US crude stocks fell sharply by 7.2 million barrels last week to 483.4 million, more than the expected decrease of 2.6 million barrels, according to the weekly report by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.

"Both markets are seeing a strong move in spreads through most of 2017 and 2018 due to shorts covering into heavy producer flow", said Scott Shelton, broker at ICAP in Durham, North Carolina.

Oil prices also crossed their 200-day moving averages, a key resistance level, meaning it will be harder to post further gains, said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

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USA gasoline futures for delivery in August were up more than 1 percent at the highest since May 24.

The US Energy Information Administration reported that the oil reserves in the United States decreased in 7.2 million barrels last week, exceeding the prediction of a 2.6-million-barrel decrease. OPEC agreed to slash the output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1.

USA stockpiles continued to fall this week, and OPEC insists it will curb supplies through 2018, if necessary.

However, some analysts' assessments of the oil market remained bearish.

Despite some bullish signs, "the latest price rise is on a fragile footing", Commerzbank analysts contend, noting OPEC production likely would rise in the coming months as the group has not officially capped output from Libya and Nigeria.

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