Brent crude touched $71 and WTI hit $66 this week, supported by the latest comments from the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia, who said after a meeting last weekend that OPEC and Russia planned to leave the framework of their production cut agreement in place after the deal ends. This means there will be a market intervention mechanism ready should the need arise.
Some took these comments to mean the deal could be extended beyond the end of 2018, although both Novak and Al Falih denied this possibility. In any case, the presence of a ready framework for oil market intervention suggests there is now a bigger oil cartel in the market and it is ready to intervene at will to control prices.
The price rally may look sustainable, especially after the EIA reported its tenth weekly inventory draw, but some of the biggest fuel consumers apparently beg to differ. Four major airlines including Delta, American, and United, and Dubai’s Emirates, said this week they had no plans to start hedging fuel deliveries, signaling they are far from worried about oil prices.
Meanwhile, the IMF has warned that despite the latest indications from the global economy that suggest healthy growth this year, a recession may be nearer than many believe. Some sources from the analyst community are in agreement, noting the strongest start of the year for the U.S. stock market and investors’ excessive risk appetite.
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