Oil prices holding gains despite supply warning

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With outside producers expected to increase supply by more than demand, OPEC cut its estimate of the global requirement for its crude in 2018 by 250,000 bpd to 32.61 million bpd. For 2018, non-OPEC supply is revised up by 0.28 mb/d, representing y-o-y growth of 1.66 mb/d, with total non-OPEC supply reading 59.53 mb/d.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has admitted for the first time that the growing crude oil output from the United States (U.S.) may threaten the price of crude oil despite efforts to rebalance the market. Earlier in the year prices had soared to above $70.

The IEA's latest monthly report comes at a time when oil prices have skyrocketed more than 43 percent since the middle of previous year, with Brent crude averaging close to $67 a barrel in 2018 to date.

According to the report, Fitch said "Our expectation that USA oil production, including gas liquids, will rise by at least 1.5-1.7 million barrels per day in 2018 is based on progress so far, the rising number of drilling rigs and continued efficiency gains".

He went on to say that "also, in the coming months as well, we tend to see demand starting to grow: we're approaching the USA driving season that provides some tailwinds for oil prices, so we do see, actually, the potential for oil prices to move above where they are despite the headwinds from shale". Opec trimmed its 2018 demand forecast for its own crude by 250,000 bpd to 32.61 million bpd, a fourth consecutive decline. The contract rose 25 cents to $60.96 on Wednesday.

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Rising US production continues to stoke market fears. Gasoline stocks fell 6.27 million barrels to 244.8 million, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showed. Expectations had been for a two million barrel build. April gasoline rose 2 per cent to $1.9243 a gallon. Despite a big move up in the United States dollar yesterday, crude oil managed to eke out small gains.

Cartel members' production went down 77,000 bpd from January to February, the report said, citing secondary sources.

Traders of crude oil cargoes face a dilemma. Both agencies expect supply to overtake demand this year.

Analysts said oil may also get some support from seasonal demand, while providing at least temporary support was the unexpected replacement this week of U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson by Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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