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OPEC panel to conclude meeting on Friday

19 May 2017, 07:20 | Melvin Schneider

OPEC panel to conclude meeting on Friday

OPEC panel to conclude meeting on Friday

Oil futures rose Friday in Asia, building on overnight gains in the us, as investors showed some optimism about what will come out of next week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Although the storage trade has been less profitable since the OPEC production cuts, much of that oil remains in tanks, said Chris Bake, an executive committee member at Vitol, the world's largest independent trader, during an industry conference last week in London.

The price swings of recent months suggest market players want a big surprise from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) when it meets on May 25 in Vienna for oil to break above a very tight range around $50 per barrel.

Crude oil rose 0.75 per cent to Rs 3,227 per barrel in futures market today as speculators created fresh bets, taking positive cues from global markets.

The market has not strengthened enough to drain many major storage facilities around the globe - which OPEC oil ministers had hoped would be a first step toward rebalancing what has been a buyer's market since late 2014.

Concurrently, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was seen inching closer to $50, coming in at $49.45 per barrel, up 38 cents or 0.77%.

"One of the biggest difficulties facing the cartel, however, is that there is a lag between output cuts and inventory changes", Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers including Russian Federation have pledged to cut production by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of 2016, a deal likely to be extended until the end of March 2018. Accounting for that means OPEC would need to revisit and whittle down, if necessary, the participating countries' quotas through the duration of the extension. "On the other, there are those who are focused on the real drawdowns that have started to occur in US oil stocks over the past month or so", he said.

It said OPEC-led cuts take about three quarters to start drawing down inventories but US shale producers can ramp up output in just four quarters to fill in the gap left.

Michael Wittner, global head of oil research at Societe Generale, said the market was well on its way toward bracing for an Opec cut.

Rewinding to 2016, the oil market hit an inflection point in the summer as declining non-OPEC output and strong demand signalled a nascent market rebalancing.

OPEC agreed to slash the output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1.

The world market for oil was almost balanced during the first quarter, though USA oil production and Middle East gains complicate the issue, the IEA said.



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