Oil drops as demand shows signs of weakening

Posted May 18, 2018

"Global oil demand growth for 2018 has been revised slightly downwards from 1.5 million barrels per day", the IEA said int latest oil supply report.

He raised concerns about the price of a barrel of Brent rising to $80 - the report suggested that it is the first time this has happened since 2014.

Following the rally in crude oil prices, the National Assembly increased the oil benchmark price for the 2018 budget to $51 per barrel from $45 proposed by the Executive.

"I expect that Venezuelan production will continue to decline and the upcoming elections hold the spectre of the USA imposing additional sanctions on Venezuela that may hasten the loss of supply", said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, a consultancy in Houston.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 64 cents at $72.13 a barrel, also their highest since November 2014.

Global oil supplies could be hit by President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, and also by falling production in crisis-hit Venezuela, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The prospects of a drop in Iranian oil exports due to sanctions imposed by the U.S. after pulling out from the Iran nuclear deal has moved the prices northwards.

"The geo-political noise and escalation fears are here to stay", said Norbert Rucker, Head of Macro & Commodity Research, at Swiss bank Julius Baer.

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Further, the global oil inventories are expected to remain under pressure due to supply constraints arising from the geopolitical turmoil.

Prices of aromatics such as benzene and toluene, as well as those of petrochemical feedstock, naphtha, tend to follow crude movement closely.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday said consumer spending increased marginally last month, noting that higher gasoline prices were eating away at discretionary spending.

The downward trend was supported by data released late Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute showing USA crude oil inventories increased last week by 4.8 million barrels.

The price of Brent oil has exceeded 80 dollars per barrel this Thursday due to sanctions imposed by United States to Iran.

USA bank Morgan Stanley said it had raised its Brent price forecast to $90 per barrel by 2020 due to a steady increase in demand.

The worldwide glut has been eradicated and "Opec still hasn't said anything about ending the deal early, which is only good for markets", said Ashley Petersen, lead oil analyst at Stratas Advisors in NY. "We are in a world where geopolitics are dominating the market again". A major disruption in Iran could send crude prices higher just as the oil market is emerging from a prolonged period of oversupply.

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