Oil slips from 2019 high as economy worries weigh

20 February, 2019, 05:07 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Oil price SURGE: Spike in price after US sanctions in Iran and Venezuela and OPEC cuts

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures pushed through $56 per barrel for the first time this year, hitting $56.13 a barrel before edging back to $56.02 a barrel by 0112 GMT, still up 0.8 per cent from their last settlement.

Some analysts said the continued rise in USA oil production could act as a drag on the current rally.

Oil prices rose to their highest levels since November past year on Monday, lifted by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela. Brent earlier climbed to its highest since November 2018 at $66.78 a barrel.

On Monday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note that considering the economic outlook and supply and demand balances, the bank said it expects Brent prices to average between $50 and $70 per barrel, "anchored around $60". "China trade talks", said Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas.

Oil has risen almost 25 percent so far this year and is on course for its strongest first-quarter performance since 2011, thanks largely to a commitment by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies to cut output.

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Traders in financial markets are hopeful the United States and China would soon resolve their trade disputes.

India's crude oil imports from the USA during the April- December period of 2018 increased 294 per cent to 4.58 MT, as compared to 1.16 MT imported in the same period in 2017, according to information available on Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS). Bigger-than-expected cuts from OPEC and its de facto leader and largest producer Saudi Arabia helped push prices up.

International Olympic Committee buys some eight million tons a year of Nigerian crude, most of it from spot markets where prices are subject to extreme volatilities but in 2016 Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Nigeria had agreed to increase the term contract.

USA sanctions against OPEC members Iran and Venezuela have also tightened the market. Venezuela has sent its oil minister, Manuel Quevedo, to India to convince refiners to double their oil purchases.

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