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OPEC Relentlessly Pursues Higher Oil Prices

OPEC

Friday December 1, 2017

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. OPEC extends cuts to target inventories

(Click to enlarge)

- OPEC’s main objective is to bring OECD crude and product inventories back to the five-year average.
- The production limits had a limited effect at the beginning of the year (in part because of the ramp up in production and exports at the end of 2016), but the drawdowns really picked up pace in the second and third quarter.
- Total crude and refined product stocks are now only about 140 million barrels above the five-year average, less than half of the surplus that was seen at the start of the year.
- Still, OPEC wants to bring that total back to average levels, an objective that was used as the justification for the extension of the production cuts.

2. Hedge funds trim bets ahead of OPEC meeting

(Click to enlarge)

- Hedge funds and other money managers cut their bullish bets on Brent for the second week in a row, just ahead of the OPEC meeting.
- Speculators had taken their net-long bets on crude to record levels in recent weeks, but there is now some tentative evidence that they are growing skittish.
- With little room on…

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