Brent oil hits $80 for first time since late 2014

Daniel Fowler
May 17, 2018

The IEA noted that the global economy is still "doing well", and that "underlying demand growth remains strong around the world". A few years ago, it was because that despite the low price, demand would be bad despite clear evidence to the contrary. Yet, are we seeing demand destruction?

"The only reason why we're not seeing higher prices from here today is the strength of the USA dollar", said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors. Well, we are not there yet. "Demand for oil has been revised downwards for the second half of the year from April", PVM Oil Associates strategist Tamas Varga said.

"In these early days, there is understandable uncertainty about its potential impact on Iran's oil exports, which are now about 2.4 mb/d", the IEA noted.

The general public has starting feeling the pinch in their wallet as the oil prices have now climbed to five-years high and are unlikely to go down anytime soon.

However, sometimes slogans can become an embarrassment as Drill, Baby, Drill turned to Spill, Baby, Spill following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill at a British Petroleum offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

A report by the International Energy Agency on Wednesday warned that the rising price could hit demand. There's no guarantee that the Saudis will step in to increase production and make up for Iran's lost barrels-after all, the Kingdom has not expressed concerns over the declines in Venezuela.

The IEA talks its book when it comes to demand.

Predicting triple-digit oil prices is not all that audacious nowadays. As the dollar strengthens, investors can retreat from dollar-denominated commodities like oil. While this has largely been achieved, ministers have said other metrics should be considered such as oil industry investment, suggesting they are in no hurry yet to wind down supply cuts. They also reported that the biggest oil glut in the history of the world has been virtually eliminated.

If the United States were to force that amount of oil off the market again, it could turn a fast-shrinking surplus into a shortage and send prices higher and destabilise the careful balance of supply and demand that both Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are trying to achieve.

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Goldman also said the tight market left “room for OPEC to exit (its production cuts) without significant price impact.”. Strong non-OPEC growth, led by the US, pushed global supplies up 1.78 mb/d on a year ago. The call on OPEC crude and stockpiles will average around 32.25 million barrels a day for the remainder of 2018, about 600,000 higher than April output. A switch to contango, where upfront supplies sell for less than later-dated barrels, might be a warning sign for the bulls. That was not far off Tuesday's $71.92 a barrel - also a level not seen since November 2014.

OPEC, for its part, estimated that the excess oil inventories in the OECD had shrunk to just 9 million barrels.

Even with a price pullback, WTI could be supported on the unwinding of spreads.

Is $100-$3.60 per gallon gasoline in the USA -or higher possible?

The IEA said Iran's exports fell by around 1.2 million bpd the last time sanctions were imposed over the country's nuclear activities in 2012 before being lifted four years later.

Brent crude hit $79.02 a barrel, a 79 cent increase, registering its highest level since November 2014. However, countries that agreed then to buy less Iranian crude are signalling no willingness to cut back now.

Both Bolton and Trump share a common cause on Iran and this has implications on oil policies and market stability.

Energy economist Phil Verleger says "we could be in store for the greatest market price disruption ever" and sees Brent possibly reaching $120 this summer. The announcement comes ahead of Sunday's presidential elections. Total does about 30 percent of its business through the United States banking system. So start your day with Maduro flakes! Maduro told cheering supporters in the central state of Carabobo.

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