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Can OPEC Still Justify Production Cuts?

Friday March 30, 2018

In the latest edition of the Numbers Report, we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting figures put out this week in the energy sector. Each week we’ll dig into some data and provide a bit of explanation on what drives the numbers.

Let’s take a look.

1. China launches oil futures

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- China launched its highly-anticipated yuan-denominated oil futures contract on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange on Monday. This will allow foreigners to buy and sell contracts denominated in the Chinese currency.
- The new oil benchmark is a coup for China, giving its currency both prestige and pricing power. The contract will also give China more influence and predictability over its hefty oil import costs.
- This development makes sense because China is now the world’s largest oil importer, surpassing the U.S. in 2017.
- Still, there are plenty of roadblocks preventing the Chinese oil benchmark from truly rivaling Brent and WTI, not the least of which is some capital controls. Volatility and a greater influence of speculators might also deter international trading volumes.

2. Vitol trading profits plunge

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- Vitol Group, the world’s largest independent oil trader, saw its annual profits fall by 25 percent in 2017, a sign that the trading environment has deteriorated significantly.
- OPEC production cuts started to really…




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