Oil Rises, Poised To Go Above $70, On Fewer US Rigs, OPEC

Oil Rises, Poised To Go Above $70, On Fewer US Rigs, OPEC

Oil Rises, Poised To Go Above $70, On Fewer US Rigs, OPEC

After the main fields and oil export terminals in Libya re-opened in 2017, production started to increase and, together with Nigeria's recovering oil production and US shale resurgence, was offsetting part of the OPEC cuts and depressed fuel prices for much of 2017. The last time that the prices significantly reached $70 was last May 2015 which was around $69.08 and with the positive supply news; the price may significantly fluctuate to the $70 mark.

Noting that USA crude inventories are at their lowest level since August 2015, PVM Oil Associates analyst Tamas Varga says "OPEC is edging ever closer to its desired target of reducing OECD industrial stocks to the five-year average".

The higher US prices are driven by continued declines in the amount of crude oil in the nation's commercial stockpiles. The contract topped out at $64.77, a high going back to December 8, 2014.

The European benchmark Brent touched $68.29 per barrel on Tuesday before retreating to $67.91.

Prices were supported by an OPEC+ agreement to extend productions cuts until the end of this year.

OPEC and the Russia-led alliance face a number of challenges in keeping their deal intact until the end of 2018. Earlier in the session, prices hit $63.67, their highest since December 9, 2014.

Average Singapore refinery margins this week fell below $6 per barrel, their lowest seasonal value in five years, due to high fuel availability but also because the recent rise in feedstock crude prices dented profits. Adding to this argument is the fact that American producers appear poised to increase their production, adding to the already considerable global oil surplus. Those gains were led by gold miners boosting by higher bullion prices. If this price fails, we could see a move into the nearest uptrending Gann angle at $60.11. However, analysts said it would take more than one day to convincingly break through US$70 a barrel on Brent.

Russian Federation needs much lower oil prices to balance its budget than OPEC's leader Saudi Arabia, which is preparing a stock market listing for national energy giant Aramco this year and would hence benefit from pricier crude.

Petrol costs in the United Kingdom are now hovering near four-year highs - averaging 121p for a litre of petrol and 124p for diesel. As of 12:54 p.m. EST (1754 GMT), the contract was trading 56 cents, or 0.8 percent, higher at $69.76.

Venezuela's oil output fell by another 100,000 bpd in December, dipping to just 1.7 million bpd, the lowest level since 2002.

Spot gold marked its highest since Sept 15 at $1,321.33 on Wednesday, but then dropped as the dollar recovered after minutes from the Federal Reserve's December policy meeting bolstered expectations for more USA interest rate hikes. A month ago a gallon of regular gasoline cost $2.46, and a year ago the price was about $2.36.

The US currency was also given a boost on Wednesday by strong manufacturing and construction data. "Perhaps oil will hit $70 per barrel, but for only a day".

Canadian natural gas prices, which fluctuated considerably in 2017, recovered somewhat in the final quarter of the year as transportation systems resumed operating at full capacity after several maintenance projects during the year.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising United States interest rates as they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The nation's external reserves hit a four-year high of $40.4bn on Friday, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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