OPEC cuts 2019 oil demand forecast on global slowdown

The Opec+ cuts are taking effect and US data is starting to reflect these changing market conditions. — Reuters  file

International Brent crude oil futures were up 37 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $63.98 a barrel.

The global oil market remains well supplied, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly market report on Wednesday, and output would still likely outstrip demand this year, despite OPEC's efforts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela. The cartel and the world's biggest exporter, Saudi Arabia, slashed its output more than expected under the OPEC deal, to 10.2 million barrels a day in January and is aiming to pump around 100,000 barrels less in February.

In January, Falih said Saudi Arabia went beyond its commitment to lower both the production and exports of oil over the last couple of months.

Venezuela accounted for 16 percent of OPEC output and 8 percent of world production in 1970 but those percentages had fallen to just 5 percent and 2 percent respectively by 2017 (https://tmsnrt.rs/2E4Pfb9).

However, analysts are warning that record U.S. supply and anticipated economic slowdown later this year might start capping the world's oil markets.

IEA revised lower its forecast for demand for OPEC crude this year.

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Refineries are built to handle a certain quality of crude, and those which process so-called heavy crude from Venezuela, Canada or the Middle East can not be easily converted to treat the light shale oil that is now being produced in greater quantities in the United States.

"This is because, in terms of crude oil quantity, markets may be able to adjust after initial logistical dislocations", the group added. In another bullish sign this week, President Donald Trump struck a conciliatory tone on trade talks with China, suggesting higher tariffs might be averted.

The price has largely plateaued since then, in spite of the subsequent imposition of USA sanctions.

In the USA, oil inventories climbed 3.63 million barrels, while supplies of gasoline, heating oil and other fuels added about 3 million barrels more, according to weekly data from the Energy Information Administration.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $52.78 per barrel at 0329 GMT, up 37 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last close.

OPEC, Russia and other non-OPEC producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from January 1 to prevent excess supply building up. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

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