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18 March 2019, 11:26 | Vera Richards
US oil settles 0.6% higher at $58.61 a barrel, hits 4-month high
In its Oil Market Report released on March 15, the IEA (International Energy Agency) estimated that the oil market will fall into a deficit of 0.5 MMbpd (million barrels per day) in Q2 2019, which could help United States crude oil prices to easily move above the psychologically important level of $60.
USA crude futures eased slightly on Friday after hitting a 2019 high, as worries about the global economy and robust US production put a brake on prices.
Oil prices have surged to their highest level in months, with the US West Texas Intermediate rising above $58 per barrel and Brent trading north of $67.
Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate gained 0.39 per cent to United States dollars 58.79, while Brent crude, the global benchmark was at 0.30 per cent to USD 67.43 per barrel. "The OPEC-plus meeting could give us a little direction", he said. Involuntary production declines from the coalition's members including Venezuela and Iran have further squeezed supplies.
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In its February report, OPEC said it produced combined production of 30.5 million barrels per day, which is 221,000 less than in January, according to secondary sources tapped by the cartel.
OPEC kept its world crude oil demand projections unchanged, stressing supply is increasing at a faster pace. "As it happens, 1.2 million bpd is also the size of the output cuts agreed by OPEC countries and some non-OPEC producers".
However, in the event of a major loss of Venezuelan supply, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had about 2.8 million bpd of effective spare capacity, the IEA said.
Oil prices have risen since the beginning of this year thanks to supply cuts led by OPEC.
Still, oil prices could also come under downward pressure from an economic slowdown.
Drillers cut one oil rig in the week to March 15, bringing the total count down to 833, the lowest since April 2018, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely-followed report on Friday.
The IEA says "Global oil markets are going through a period of extraordinary change".
OPEC agreed on December 7, led by Saudi Arabia's requests to cut output to prop up prices, to reduce output by 800,000 barrels per day, to be matched by another 400,000 barrels-per-day production cut by some non-OPEC nations led by Russian Federation, starting January 1.
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