Oil Pushes Closer to $95 a Barrel as Global Market Tightens Up

By Bloomberg

Sep 18, 2023

image is BloomburgMedia_S10OVMT0AFB401_18-09-2023_07-14-08_638305920000000000.jpg

A fuel attendant refuels a customer's vehicle at a gas station in the Yaba suburb of Lagos, Nigeria, on Saturday, July 29, 2023. Surging gasoline prices and rampant inflation following the abolition of fuel subsidies and exchange rate reform are hammering the poor in Africa's most populous nation, where 40% of its citizens live in dire poverty. Photographer: Benson Ibeabuchi/Bloomberg

Oil extended an upswing as OPEC+ supply cuts tightened the market, with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman due to address a conference on the kingdom’s crude policy and view on net zero.

Global benchmark Brent advanced well above $94 a barrel after a three-week run of gains that boosted prices by 11%. With Saudi Arabia and Russia prolonging supply curbs to the year-end, Prince Abdulaziz is set to be among keynote speakers at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary later on Monday.


Crude in London is nearly 10% higher year-to-date as the OPEC+ linchpins curb production and the demand outlook brightens, with the US potentially avoiding recession just as refiners in China go all-out. Against that backdrop, crude stockpiles have dropped, while speculators boosted net-bullish wagers on Brent and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate to a combined 15-month high.

Oil’s surge looks set to fan inflationary pressures around the globe just as central bankers, including those at the US Federal Reserve, try to determine whether they have already done enough to beat back the pace of price gains by hiking interest rates. It’ll be an important week for monetary policy, with decisions due from the Fed and the Bank of England, among others.

“Focus is likely to turn to the Fed meeting this week, but growing supply tightness and eroding inventories likely to continue underpinning bullish sentiment.’,”said Vandana Hari, founder of consultancy Vanda Insights. 

In the physical market, refined products like diesel are increasingly showing warning signs, with the world’s refineries proving powerless to make enough of the industrial fuel. Prices have far outstripped those for crude.

Widely-watched crude timespreads are also signaling tightness, with the gap between Brent’s two nearest contracts at 92 cents a barrel in backwardation. That’s the widest since November and reflects scarce near-term supplies.

Still, other markers suggest a pullback could be in the offing after such a swift and marked move higher. Brent’s 14-day relative-strength index has been above 70 for nine of the past 10 sessions, pointing to the possibility that the rally could pause or retrace as traders digest gains.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

By Yongchang Chin


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