Economy

Bullish oil streak propels Brent to strongest Q3 in 13 years

Bullish oil streak propels Brent to strongest Q3 in 13 years”

US crude prices found some strength from a surprise fall in USA stocks. OPEC countries have cut oil production by 517,000 barrels a day since the beginning of the year.

Still, some analysts and investors have been concerned that USA producers continuing to increase output and possibly ramping up even more quickly to take advantage of higher prices could limit oil's upside.

Brent slipped from 26-month highs to settle down 54 cents, or almost 1 per cent, at $57.90 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) ended 26 cents, or 0.5 per cent, higher at $52.14 but stayed below five-month highs.

Oil prices rose on Friday as investors bet that efforts to cut a global glut are working and that the demand outlook is improving.

"It fits the narrative for the bulls saying that USA shale is not as robust as the bears make it out to be", said Stephen Schork, author of the Schork Report.

At the same time, analysts said prices have also come down slightly as investors have cashed in on the recent gains, though Commerzbank described the situation as temporary.

Oil price gains have also been supported this month by anticipated renewed demand from USA refiners that were resuming operations after shutdowns due to Hurricane Harvey.

Bullish oil streak propels Brent to strongest Q3 in 13 years

US energy companies added oil rigs for the first week in seven after a 14-month drilling recovery stalled in August, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.

Analysts see this spread narrowing to trade steadily around $2.72 a barrel for 2017 and $2.79 in 2018. However, OPEC's crude production rose by about 150,000 barrels a day in September, with Libya and Nigeria pumping extra barrels, JBC said.

While there is debate as to how effective the cuts have actually been in re-balancing the market, any sign that OPEC and its allies, including major exporter Russian Federation, are ending their production discipline, would be taken as bearish for prices.

Iraq is bracing itself for a standoff against the Kurdish region that voted for secession in a referendum this week. Iran has stopped all land transportation of crude from the region. Turkish President Recep Erdogan has threatened to block Kurdish oil exports transiting through his country's territory.

Some analysts are looking to a possible tightness in the market next year and Citibank's global head of commodities research, Ed Morse said at a conference in Singapore this week that there could be "a supply gap emerging" in the coming months.

On the demand side, it's clear that middle distillates have led prices higher so far this year on the back of stronger industrial growth in major consumers such as China and India.

Gasoline futures fell 1.6% to $1.6065 a gallon in their fourth straight session of losses and diesel futures shed 1.1% to $1.8117.



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