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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Oil Prices On Course For A Weekly Gain Despite Economic Uncertainty

  • Oil prices are on track to end their two-week losing streak, with Brent crude trading above $86 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate nearing the $84 mark.
  • Economic concerns remain but were offset this week by another major inventory draw in the United States.
  • Russia has already said it would extend its production cut and expectations are that Saudi Arabia will do the same, adding upward pressure to oil prices.

After four days of gains, crude oil prices were on track to end their two-week losing streak as traders once again turned their attention from economic indicators to OPEC+ supply policy.

Brent crude was trading above $86 per barrel at the time of writing and West Texas Intermediate was changing hands at close to $84 per barrel, two days after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported another massive draw in oil inventories, at 10.5 million barrels for the second to last week of August.

That inventory draw followed another recently reported one of 17 million barrels, which contributed to a perception of strong, resilient demand for crude in the world’s largest consumer of the commodity. To date, crude inventories in the U.S. are at the lowest since last December.

This perception undermined fears among traders that sluggish economic growth in the biggest oil markets in the world would affect global demand negatively, helped by positive economic data from the U.S. Even China’s latest PMI reading did not pressure prices, possibly because while the overall figure was in the contraction zone below 50, several important sub-readings were above 50, indicating growth.

Meanwhile, OPEC+ is meeting next week to discuss its next moves and analysts expect the production cuts to remain unchanged and get extended for another month as the group seeks sustained higher prices.

"We continue to expect cuts to be extended, with prices above US$90/bbl (on a sustained basis) required to draw OPEC supply back to market, as well as incentivize U.S. shale producers to increase drilling activity," the National Australia Bank said in a note, cited by Reuters.

Russia has already said it would extend its export cuts for another month, which also contributed to this week’s price gains and now traders anticipate an identical move by Saudi Arabia with regard to its production.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on September 01 2023 said:
    With global oil market fundamentals particularly global oil demand very robust, it is inevitable that crude oil prices will continue to surge with Brent crude going above $90 a barrel and probably even touching $100 before the end of 2023.

    And while I am convinced that Saudi Arabia’s voluntary production cut has nothing to do with the market and everything to do with production difficulties, a decision by both Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend their cuts for another month could have a psychological impact on a market that is very precariously balanced.

    The most bullish factor in the market is the fact that China’s economy is in fine fettle and is the fastest growing economy among the major economies. Another bullish factor is rising US oil demand.

    Against such outlook, OPEC+ may be disinclined to cut production further during its meeting next week and will be satisfied if both Saudi Arabia and Russia extended their voluntary cuts for another month.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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