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Traders In Limbo As Mounting Uncertainty Pulls Oil In All Directions

Crude oil prices are expected to finish the week higher, but the price action late in the week suggests the market may be getting a little top heavy. Early in the week, crude oil surged to a five-month high and continues to hover around these levels, however, new concerns over future demand have slowed down the upside momentum on the daily chart.

Weekly Recap

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures are trading higher on Friday, helped by better-than-expected trade balance data from China, which dampened concerns over a global economic slowdown. Prices also continue to be supported by the on-going OPEC-led supply cuts and the U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, which have helped tighten global supplies.

Prices plunged on Thursday as traders continued to react to rising U.S. inventories. The price action, however, suggests the selling may have been fueled by technical factors.

Earlier this week, the Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude inventories rose to their highest level since November 2017. Additionally, U.S. crude output remained at a record 12.2 million barrels per day. However, U.S. gasoline stocks fell by a whopping 7.7 million barrels last week. This was more than enough to offset the crude oil build.

At the same time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that OPEC production fell 550,000 bpd. The IEA also said that U.S. sanctions and power outages pushed OPEC…

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 14 2019 said:
    Buoyed by strong global oil demand, rock solid demand by China, positive macroeconomic data about the Chinese economy and a slowdown in US production, the global oil market is tightening sending oil prices higher. If these factors persist, we could see oil prices surging beyond $80 a barrel if not higher.

    Saudi-led OPEC is determined to continue with the production cuts in order to ensure that the global oil market is irrevocably balanced and prices are beyond $80 which is the level most of its members need to balance their budgets.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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