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Oil prices climb on prospect of OPEC and Russian cuts

21 November 2018

As oil tumbled, the rupee steadied against the dollar and fuel prices began pinching less at pumps.

Weekly exchange data shows money managers hold a combined net long position equivalent to around 364 million barrels of US and Brent crude futures and options, down from over 800 million barrels two months ago.

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Earlier today, WTI crude oil fell to $56.60, as fundamentals around the globe continue to weigh on the commodity. "Y$3 esterday's price reaction to the United States inventory data shows that negative news is now largely priced in", Commerzbank said in a note. The market had not anticipated such large waivers. The allied exporters are widely expected to cut output following the pullback in oil prices. The 15-member OPEC cartel has also been ramping up production. USA president Donald Trump added pressure on oil when he said that Saudi Arabia has been "responsive" to requests to keep prices low, calling into question OPEC's resolve to trim output. Global benchmark Brent crude has been on a downhill journey since it four-year high of $86.74 a barrel on October 1 and trading over 20% lower than its November 2014 level. As of Monday, those funds were balanced between long and short positions as traders sold long positions and funds shifted to the sidelines. "T$3 he oil market is a lot cleaner now from a positioning standpoint".

Tuesday's crude trading seemed to dispel widespread notions of the previous session's modest price gains being the start of a recovery, with USA crude diving to its lowest level in over a year due to mounting concerns over a global slowdown in economic growth. For instance, OECD stocks in terms of "days of demand cover", remain below the five-year average. Prices recovered somewhat in the latter half of last week, only to spiral downward again this week as concerns about oversupply persist. Signs of lower demand are beginning to emerge. Barclays even suggests that Iran may step up threats on the Strait of Hormuz because of lower prices, while Venezuela might lose output at a faster rate.

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Nigeria's rig count - a standard yardstick used in measuring a nation's activeness in exploration and production of crude oil and gas - for the month of October, 2018 increased to 34 from 33 recorded in the previous month, data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, have showed.

Ahead of the bi-annual OPEC meeting on December 6th, expectations have been growing that the cartel will look to cut oil output (by roughly 1-1.4mbpd) in order to prevent oversupply given the slowing demand growth, coupled with the surge in oil production by the USA (currently producing at a record 11.7mbpd).

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As for the comment, I don't see it as anything other than managing expectations. It will require OPEC+ action to head that off. Anything less will be a huge disappointment and could drag oil prices back down. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Oil prices climb on prospect of OPEC and Russian cuts