Oil prices ease as pandemic outweighs Chinese and U.S

17 Janvier, 2021, 15:39 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Brent Crude Oil Likely to Average Close to $50 a Barrel in 2021

Brent dropped by $0.93, or 1.7%, to $55.49 by 9:50am GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude fell by $0.71, or 1.3%, to $52.86 a barrel, reported Reuters.

Both benchmarks, which hit their highest in almost a year earlier in the week, posted their first weekly declines in three weeks, with Brent down 1.6% on the week and US crude down about 0.4%.

Oil producers face an unprecedented challenge balancing supply and demand as factors including the pace and response to COVID-19 vaccines cloud the outlook, said an official at the International Energy Agency (IEA).

These positives were called into question on Friday as the dollar rose and China ramped up lockdown measures.

"It is true that the 1.9 trillion US dollars economic stimulus package unveiled by Biden yesterday should increase the confidence of the markets in the USA economy and boost hopes of increased oil demand", Eugen Weinberg, energy analyst at Commerzbank Research, said in a note on Friday.

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The refiners are starting to see a better demand picturePhil Flynn, senior market analyst, Price Futures Group Inc. "This renewed lockdown is striking at the heart of the demand picture in Asia".

China, the world's second largest oil consumer, reported its biggest daily jump in new Covid-19 cases in more than 10 months as infections in northeastern Heilongjiang province almost tripled, underscoring the growing threat ahead of a major national holiday.

"Seeing Covid-19 infections increase in China with the highest margins for a long time is alarming for the market and, combined with tight lockdowns underway in Europe, may affect demand for oil much more than initially expected in the first quarter".

Despite the coronavirus shock, China's total crude oil imports rose 7.3% in 2020, with record arrivals in the second and third quarters as refineries expanded operations and low prices encouraged stockpiling, customs data showed.

"The market is structurally bullish, but it may be getting too ahead of forward-looking fundamentals".

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