Friday, August 07, 2020

Oil rises with signs of improving demand for real crude barrels

May 26. 2020
Oil tankers sit anchored off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., on April 22, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Tim Rue.
Oil tankers sit anchored off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., on April 22, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Tim Rue.
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By Syndication The Washington Post, Bloomberg · Sharon Cho, Alex Longley 

Oil rose above $34 a barrel in New York on signs that demand for physical crude continues to recover.

Nigeria, whose millions of barrels of unsold crude were the epitome of the oil market's glut in recent weeks, lifted the selling price for its supplies in June from record lows. Algeria also hiked its official prices by almost $3 a barrel. The moves by the two OPEC nations show increasing confidence that they can sell their barrels at costlier levels, providing them some respite after being hammered by the coronavirus outbreak.

Oil has surged more than 80% this month as demand has picked up and output cuts have started to chip away at a massive oversupply. That has also led to a steady flattening in the futures curve -- a signal market supplies are growing tighter. Russia, a key member of the OPEC+ alliance that has pledged record output cuts, expects the market to balance in June or July.

"Global supply is still heading lower while demand is rising," said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB AB. "This all lays the ground for higher prices down the road."

Around the world, producers have slashed global production by 14 million to 15 million barrels a day so far, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday. The nation sees the current global surplus at 7 million to 12 million barrels a day, RIA Novosti reported Monday.

Though output has been cut and demand is recovering, there are ongoing signs of the damage the virus has wrought on the industry. Both refineries in the Philippines have now been shut as a result of weak fuel demand, according to their operators.

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