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Oil slumps below $80 on resurgent European COVID fears

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Oil slumps below $80 on resurgent European COVID fears
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oil and gas tanks are seen at an oil warehouse at a port in Zhuhai, China October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

By Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell sharply on Friday towards $78 a barrel as a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases in Europe threatened to slow the economic recovery while investors also weighed a potential release of crude reserves by major economies to cool prices.

was down $2.78, or 3.42%, at $78.46 a barrel by 1300 GMT, its lowest since early October, after earlier rising to as high as $82.24, extending volatility seen on Thursday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for December delivery was down $2.61, or 3.3%, at $76.40 a barrel.

The WTI December contract expires on Friday and most trading activity has shifted to the January future, which was down 3.3% at $75.83 a barrel.

Both Brent and WTI are set for a fourth week of declines.

Austria became the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full coronavirus lockdown this autumn to tackle a new wave of COVID-19 infections across the region that threatens to slow the recent months’ economic recovery.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, warned it may also have to move to a full COVID-19 lockdown.

Brent has surged almost 60% this year as economies bounce back from the pandemic and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, known as OPEC+, have only raised output gradually.

“The (oil) market still remains fundamentally in a good position but lockdowns are now an obvious risk… if other countries follow Austria’s lead,” Craig Erlam, market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

Governments from some of the world’s biggest economies were looking into releasing oil from their strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) following a request from the United States, first reported by Reuters https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/exclusive-us-asks-big-countries-coordinate-releases-oil-reserves-sources-2021-11-17, for a coordinated move to cool prices.

Speculation about a U.S. stock release has already pushed oil prices down by about $4 a barrel in recent weeks and additional supplies of up to 100 million barrels are already priced in, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) oil analysts said in a note.

As a result, it said any release “would only provide a short-term fix to a structural deficit”.

OPEC+ has stuck to its policy of gradual oil output increases even as prices surged, saying it expects supply to outpace demand in the first months of 2022.

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Commodities

Caracas and Chevron will soon sign a series of contracts on crude oil production in Venezuela

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crude oil production in Venezuela

Caracas and Chevron will sign a series of contracts after Washington allowed the company to start crude oil production in Venezuela, local oil minister Tarek El Aissami said Tuesday.

According to the EFE news agency, the minister was informed of a “productive working meeting” with Chevron Venezuela head Javier La Rosa. “In the coming hours we will sign contracts to spur the development of joint ventures and oil production,” the minister said. What exactly will be in those contracts has not yet been disclosed.

The U.S. Treasury Department said earlier in November that it had allowed Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX). To resume resource extraction activities in Venezuela on a limited scale. If it is possible to influence the world oil market in this way, the situation on the stock market, including Boeing stock price predictions, will also improve.

Note that the cost of oil production in Venezuela compared with world prices is very low. According to the document, the company is allowed to extract, transport and supply to the United States oil or oil products produced by joint ventures (JV) Chevron (the license does not allow delivery to any other countries), as well as to carry out any related maintenance and repair on the joint venture assets. Also, Chevron was granted the right to purchase and import into Venezuela goods or resources related to the above activities, including diluents, condensates, oil or natural gas products.

We previously reported that oil prices are rising on the supply and demand outlook.

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Why is oil getting more expensive? Price rises on supply and demand outlook

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why is oil getting more expensive

Global oil prices moved higher Thursday afternoon, trading data showed. Why is oil getting more expensive? Investors continue to assess the prospects for the balance of supply and demand in the market, including the OPEC+ deal.

Why have oil prices gone up so much? The price of January futures on Brent grew 0.83% to $87.69 per barrel, while February futures on WTI grew 0.87% to $81.25. Oil was getting cheaper by 0.5% in the morning.

Why have oil prices gone up so much?

Investors continue to watch the outlook for oil supply and demand. Thus, investors are waiting for the OPEC+ meeting, which is scheduled for Sunday, December 4. Traders assess whether the parameters of the oil agreement will be changed. Because the situation remains tense, even the stock market is falling. The trend can even be seen in Walt Disney stock price predictions.

Traders also fear a possible recession amid global central bank policy to raise rates due to high inflation as well as China’s measures to combat the coronavirus. The economic outlook could affect oil demand.

“The OPEC+ decision remains uncertain, but an extension of current production cuts is likely. The group will need to better understand China’s real measures on COVID before doing anything else with production levels,” Vanir Global Markets Pte. managing director James Whistler told Bloomberg. James Whistler.

Earlier, we reported that Bloomberg learned about the EU’s discussion of a $60 price ceiling on Russian oil.

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Commodities

G7 countries back the price cap on Russian oil. Bloomberg found out about the discussion in the EU of the $60 price cap on Russian oil

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g7 countries back price cap on russian oil

EU member states are discussing a $60 price cap on Russian oil, Bloomberg reported, citing knowledgeable sources. G7 countries back the price cap on Russian oil.

The EU had planned to announce a price cap on Russian oil on November 23, but negotiations within the bloc were delayed. In four days, on December 5, the embargo on fuel imports to the European Union by sea will come into force. but the decision has not yet been taken and coordinated with the G7 countries, which are not members of the EU. Within the European Union, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia require lowering the bar much lower, and Greece, Cyprus and Malta, which have a very developed shipping industry, on the contrary, insist on softer conditions. Explained Bloomberg. 

It is still unclear whether both groups are willing to go to the limit of $60 a barrel, but most – agree, subject to other requirements, say agency sources. Negotiations are ongoing. The decision requires the approval of all EU members and the agreement of the decision with the G7. According to one of Bloomberg’s sources, $60 a barrel falls within a suitable range for the G7.

What does the price cap on Russian oil mean?

What does the price cap on Russian oil mean? $60 a barrel is even a bit more than what Russian oil costs on the market now, Bloomberg said. The purpose of the cap is to limit Russia’s income from selling oil while keeping it on the world’s market. And EU sanctions, if the ceiling price is not set, will prohibit maritime transport of Russian oil to third countries and insurance of these shipments. 

For the scheme to work, the ceiling must be attractive enough for Russia to continue trading; otherwise Moscow could threaten to reduce production, and this would lead to a spike in global oil prices. Bloomberg explained.

The day before the EU embargo goes into effect, OPEC+, in which Russia also sits, will meet. On November 29, sources told Bloomberg that the format of the meeting was suddenly changed to an online meeting instead of a face-to-face meeting. The sources at Bloomberg did not explain what this was about. But we note that the tension in the market is already affecting even Google stock price predictions

At the last meeting on October 5, which was the first face-to-face meeting since the beginning of the pandemic, OPEC+ went for the sharpest production reduction since 2020 – by 2 million barrels per day. 10 traders out of 17 surveyed by Bloomberg expected that new production cuts could follow at the new meeting as well.

Earlier we reported that oil prices are falling amid protests in China.

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