OPEC cuts forecast for global crude demand in 2019

15 Mars, 2019, 04:27 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • EIA: The US imports and exports substantial volumes of petroleum

Oil rallied on Wednesday on US government data showing a surprise fall in crude inventory and a lower-than-expected estimate of USA crude production growth.

Product inventories also declined, with those gasoline down by 4.6m barrels, together with a 1.2m barrel drop in those of propane/propylene.

Global benchmark Brent crude rose 0.15 percent to $67.58 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading flat at $58.28 per barrel.

In its monthly report released on Thursday, the group cut the forecast of demand for its crude this year and predicted strong growth in non-OPEC supply. "USA sanctions on Venezuelan petroleum products have cemented support for oil prices", said Benjamin Lu of Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures.

While Saudi Arabia kept production even lower than required by the deal, the largest drop from January's rate occurred in Venezuela, whose exports have been disrupted by USA sanctions.

EIA expects these trends to continue over the next several years.

Forecasts slowed U.S. production to a record of 13 million barrels per day (bps) until the third quarter of 2020, instead of the second quarter of previous forecasts. The result has been a growing role for the United States in world petroleum trade.

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On Tuesday, the EIA revised down its estimate for domestic crude production growth in 2019.

Even so, with the demand for Opec crude forecast at 30.46 million bpd, the report indicates that the market would still face a small 2019 surplus if OPEC kept pumping at February›s rate, as rivals such as the United States boost output.

For 2020, the government said it expected U.S. crude oil demand to rise by 220,000 bpd to 21.03 million bpd, unchanged from previous forecasts.

Crude inventories fell by 3.9 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

Two sources told Reuters that the U.S. also aims to curb Iran's crude exports by about 20% to below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from May, likely reining in waivers for Tehran's remaining customers. Data from the Petroleum Institute showed that crude oil consumption increased by 29,000 bpd.

In the report, OPEC said its oil output fell by 221,000 bpd month-on-month to 30.55 million bpd in February.

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