Oil prices drop as 'trifecta of trouble' may cause glut

09 Novembre, 2018, 13:55 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A Chinese vessel approaching beleaguered Iranian tanker Sanchi to help extinguish a fire that started after it collided with a Chinese vessel off China's shores

Oil markets on Friday remained weak as rising supply and concerns of an economic slowdown pressured prices, with United States crude now down by 20 per cent since early October. That put WTI down 20.6% from its October 3 high, officially meeting the definition of a bear market.

Iran is likely to ride out the storm from USA oil sanctions, suffering recession but no economic meltdown, thanks to rising crude prices and deepening divisions between the United States and other major powers, officials and analysts say.

United States Oil Fund (USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate futures, had fallen 0.7%, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) had slipped 0.9%. This most recent downward spiral has taken five weeks.

But a short-term pop to $80 per barrel crude could be coming, say oil experts. "We believe Brent prices are oversold as fundamentals still point to a market deficit in 4Q18", Hinds writes.

Analysts continue to believe that oil's slide is a case of bad timing.

China's October crude imports surged 32 percent from a year earlier to 40.80 million tonnes, or 9.61 million barrels per day (bpd), data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Thursday, climbing from 9.05 million bpd in September.

Iranian officials have said the waivers provide proof that the United States can not achieve its goal of cutting off all of Iran's oil exports.

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Once the waivers expire after 180 days, new waivers are expected to be issued, with a source in China saying his country would likely receive another six months of exemptions, though at a lower rate of around 220,000 bpd.

Russian Federation and Germany have slammed the United States' move to reinstate sanctions against Iran's vital oil exports, shipping and banking, saying Moscow and Berlin would continue trade with Tehran. The group led by Saudi Arabia will gather in Abu Dhabi this weekend as they face a fresh surge of U.S. shale oil threatening to unleash a new surplus in 2019. Since May, when Trump took Washington out of the nuclear deal, prices of bread, cooking oil and other staples have soared and the value of the rial currency has plunged.

The exemption for Chabahar is linked to the port's importance for both India and Afghanistan, and likewise the importance of India and Afghanistan to USA foreign policy aims. Perhaps that will come from Libya and Nigeria, which are heading into elections that could lead to sustained periods of instability, further disrupting oil supplies.

Oil's set for its longest stretch of declines on record after entering a bear market, with investors awaiting a weekend meeting of OPEC and its allies to discuss output strategy.

The record United States production has been a moderating factor of oil prices, although oil got a bump on Thursday after record Chinese crude imports eased concerns that a slowdown in the world's No.2 economy could stoke an emerging fuel glut.

That means a short-term rally, if it materializes, could be last-call for oil bulls.

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