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Oil climbs on Middle East unrest, with Brent notching another multiyear high

17 May 2018

Assuming that Iran sanctions reduce exports (estimates range from losses of 200,000 b/d to 1 Mbd), OPEC+ continues its agreement, and demand growth meets expectations, global oil markets will see a supply deficit this year. However, capital expenditures (capex) rose by only 2% year/year (y/y), and were down by about 42% from 2014 levels.

Spot crude oil cargo prices are at their steepest discounts to futures prices in years as sellers are struggling to find buyers for West African, Russian and Kazakh cargoes, while pipeline bottlenecks trap supply in west Texas and Canada.

"Easy access to capital, cheap money and production hedging contributed to this trend", researchers said.

U.S. crude rose 40 cents to $71.36 a barrel, also near its highest level since November 2014. For example, oil production accounts for more than 50 percent of the GDP of Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

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The premium of the benchmark Brent crude futures contract LCOc1 is at its largest in years over those for delivery further ahead, reflecting investors' and traders' belief that supply will fall short of demand for some time to come.

We believe that Europe, Russia and China would continue the deal with Iran, leaving USA isolated and weakened in handling challenges like North Korea. Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan also are anticipated to grow.

Greater GDP growth has the potential to increase oil consumption beyond forecasted levels, which could put upward pressure on crude oil prices, and simultaneously drive systemic market movements in equities, bonds, and other commodities, which are often correlated with movements in crude oil prices.

Although OPEC and its partners have resolved to curb supply until at the least the end of this year, they'll meet next month to review their policy. Part of the "success" of these cutbacks is the result of economic and political instability in many oil producing countries. Meanwhile, production declined in OECD Europe, Other Asia and the Middle East.

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The news that Total is planning to withdraw from its large Iran gas field deal has pushed prices steadily higher on Thursday. Oil has risen 51 per cent in the previous year, driven by coordinated supply cuts and, this month, by concern over Iranian supply after the United States said it would reimpose sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear activities.

At the same time, global liquid fuels consumption is quickly increasing.

The slight drop in prices is despite OPEC continuing with oil cuts and saying a global supply glut had almost been cleared. So far, this has taken some 700,000 bpd out of global markets, the news source reports, with no sign of the trend slowing and no quick fix, even if a revolution overthrows the Maduro regime. These include imposing certain tariffs on steel and aluminum products and trade negotiations with China.

Putting to one side this last complication, contrary to what many analysts and market participants claim, the recent movements in flat prices and spreads are not sending mixed signals.

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Oil climbs on Middle East unrest, with Brent notching another multiyear high