The struggle between the spreading pandemic in the less developed world and the revival of economic activity in the US, Europe, and China continues to keep prices volatile as they move steadily higher. Last week, futures posted another gain as expectations for growing economic activity in the US and Europe fueled optimism around more robust summer demand, with New York prices advancing 2.1%. Fuel sales in the UK rose to the highest since the pandemic began, and in the US, refineries are running at their highest rate since the pandemic began as they gear up for the summer driving season. Declining crude inventories and progress in reopening the US economy are boosting oil prices.
Prices rose last month with much positive economic data and signs of a fuel consumption revival in key economies offsetting a worsening coronavirus crisis elsewhere. Futures in New York rose last week, extending their monthly gain to 7.5%. The near-certain likelihood of higher fuel consumption in the US, China, and the UK has brightened the overall demand outlook, even as a resurgent pandemic in India, Brazil, and Japan cloud those prospects. OPEC and its allies see world consumption rebounding by 6 million b/d this year, while Goldman Sachs says demand could post a record jump as vaccination rates increase.
Prices fell last week with spreading coronavirus cases in countries such as India tempering optimism around positive signs out of the US and Europe. Futures in New York rose the most in over a week on Friday but were unable to reverse a 1.6% weekly loss as the market weighed a global economic reopening that’s coming in fits and starts. The unprecedented oil inventory glut that amassed during the coronavirus pandemic is almost gone, underpinning a price recovery that’s rescuing producers but vexing consumers. Barely a fifth of the surplus that flooded into the storage tanks of developed economies when oil demand crashed last year remained as of February, according to the IEA.
Last week, oil prices saw their biggest weekly gain since early March as signs emerged of a recovery from the pandemic gaining traction in the US and China. Futures in New York advanced 6.4% last week, despite eking out a slight loss on Friday. On the heels of robust economic figures out of the US, data from China showed its gross domestic product climbed 18.3% in the first quarter from a year prior as consumer spending beat forecasts. In March, China’s refiners processed about 20% more crude than a year earlier, pointing to the strength of the country’s rebound. JPMorgan analysts forecast that Brent would hit $70 again, with a boost in US demand likely bringing OECD inventories back to normal sooner than expected.
The markets posted their worst week since mid-March amid concerns that rising global coronavirus cases slowed economic recovery. West Texas Intermediate futures ended the week down 3.5% to close at $59.32. Brent closed at $62.95. With the OPEC+ countries planning to raise output by some 2 million b/d in May and June, markets now are focused on whether the demand recovery will be enough to absorb growing supplies. While consumption is climbing in India and the US, rising virus cases and stricter travel limits in Europe are muddying the forecast and putting pressure on crude prices.
West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude futures posted solid increases on Thursday after OPEC+ decided to increase production slowly. WTI for May delivery gained $2.29 to $61.45 per barrel. June Brent futures closed at $64.86/barrel, up $2.12. Oil futures received a boost from the OPEC+ group of significant producers’ decision to increase output from May to July.
Prices were volatile last week as the grounding of the “Ever Given” container ship in the Suez Canal set off a chain of events that wreaked havoc on global trade. On Tuesday last week, Brent crude’s price plunged to $60.86 per barrel from $69.63 per barrel on March 11th. The price had rebounded to nearly $64 per barrel by Wednesday. The dramatic price fluctuations are attributable to various events, including US oil inventory figures, another round of lockdowns in the EU, AstraZeneca vaccine safety and efficacy concerns, and the vessel stuck in the Suez Canal. On Friday, the markets closed essentially unchanged for the week at $60.97 in New York and $64.57 in London. Prices are up roughly 25% this year, and there’s confidence in the longer-term outlook as vaccination rates climb, and OPEC+ keeps supply in check.
On Thursday, prices suffered their biggest weekly fall since October as signs of flagging demand in key markets halted a strong rally. International benchmark Brent crude ended the week down almost 7%, settling at $64.53 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, fell by a similar margin to $61.42 a barrel. Oil futures are still up well over 20% since the start of the year, with the world’s largest oil producers reining in supply and travel around the world still slow.
Prices settled near $70 a barrel on Friday, supported by production cuts by major oil producers and optimism about a demand recovery in the second half of the year. Benchmark Brent settled at $69.22 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude ended at $65.61 a barrel. Brent and US crude finished the week roughly flat after prices touched a 13-month high on Monday, following seven straight weeks of gains.
Futures rallied to the highest in nearly two years in New York after OPEC+ shocked markets with a decision to keep supply limited as the global economy starts to recover from a pandemic-driven slump. US benchmark crude futures topped $66 a barrel on Friday, while its international counterpart Brent neared the $70 level. Major banks upgraded price forecasts, with some calls for oil reaching north of $100 next year. Crude has soared more than 30% this year, with OPEC+’s output restraint holding the market over until a full-fledged comeback in consumption. The group’s latest decision represents Riyadh’s victory, which has advocated for tight curbs to keep prices supported.
Crude oil futures finished the week sharply lower as a stronger dollar and expectations of rising global supply pulled prices off a 13-month high of over $67 a barrel, seen earlier last week. WTI settled Friday at $61.50 and London at $66.13. US crude futures were up nearly 22% in February with expectations of shrinking supplies and a further rebound in consumption as economies worldwide begin to reopen. However, the market is facing a possible supply increase in April from OPEC+ and variants of Covid-19 continue to spread.
The severe winter storm that swept through the United States last week likely shut in between 2 million and 4 million b/d of US crude oil production, IHS Markit said in an analysis. The freeze, which started in Texas and moved east across much of the US, has also impacted almost 6 million b/d of refining capacity, including 5.2 million b/d along the Gulf Coast and 730,000 b/d in the Midwest. Issues with power outages, frozen pipes, roads, and personnel have resulted in a large volume of US oil and natural gas production being shut in. This storm is turning into a global problem. According to Citi estimates, the total lost US production by early March could reach 16 million barrels. Others, however, say the lost production could be twice as high.
Prices in London climbed for a fourth straight week as efforts to clear an oil surplus are supporting oil prices until demand comes back to pre-pandemic levels. Brent futures surged the most since early January on Friday, while West Texas Intermediate crude flirted with $60/barrel for the first time in more than a year. Oil demand outlooks improved amid signs of progress on US COVID-19 vaccination distribution and Washington’s coronavirus stimulus package.
Brent closed on Friday at $59.44—close to the benchmark’s $60 psychological threshold. Last week at this time, the spot price for Brent was just $55.04. The near $5 gain is due to a combination of factors, including a large crude oil inventory decrease in the US, continuing OPEC+ production restraint, Aramco’s price hike to crude for Europe, US traders drunk on stimulus chatter, and whispers of an overall tightening oil market. But can this uptrend last amid lockdown extensions and oil demand that just isn’t there yet?
Oil: Prices remained in a narrow range for the third week, around $52 in New York and $55 in London. As has become routine, much of the news impacting oil prices has to do with the coronavirus and vaccine programs’ pace. For the immediate future, lockdowns in many regions will limit demand. The more contagious coronavirus variant identified in South Africa has reached the US, raising worries that more outbreaks may be ahead.
The course of the coronavirus continued to roil the oil markets last week. After a 10 percent gain since the beginning of the year, oil reversed last week as new outbreaks of the virus accompanied by recent lockdowns appeared worldwide. Reports that China has been forced into new lockdowns and that a new and possibly more lethal variant of the virus is spreading across Europe added to concerns. Delays in the delivery of vaccines are also causing worries that the impact of the virus will continue a while longer.
Prices, which hit their highest in nearly a year the previous week, posted their first weekly decline of 2021 last week. Brent was down 1.6 percent on the week, and US crude down about 0.4 percent. Producers face unprecedented challenges balancing supply and demand with other factors involving vaccine rollouts versus lockdowns, strong equities, a weaker dollar, and robust Chinese demand.
Oil posted the biggest weekly gain since late September as Saudi Arabia’s plan to slice output spurred a surge in physical crude buying. In New York, futures advanced $3.72 this week, and Brent oil topped $55 a barrel for the first time since February. Last week’s pledge from Saudi Arab to cut production by 1 million b/d in February and March has made for a tighter supply outlook sooner than anticipated. Meanwhile, prospects for additional stimulus under a Biden administration spurred broader market gains.
Crude futures rode a late session upswing to end 2020 higher, as the market looked to a Jan. 4th OPEC+ meeting for direction. WTI settled at $48.52, and Brent settled at $51.80. With oil markets closed on Jan. 1st for the New Year’s Day holiday, the next driver will likely be the OPEC+ group meeting when ministers will decide on production quotas for February. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Novak floated the possibility of another 500,000 b/d increase for February, the maximum monthly amount allowed under the rules. Global crude oil markets lost about a fifth of their value in 2020 as coronavirus lockdowns paralyzed much of the worldwide economy.
Weekly prices declined for the first time since October, as a new coronavirus mutation spread through parts of the world and poses risks to energy demand. Futures in New York slid 1.8 percent this week yet closed up on Thursday, with equities gaining after the UK clinched an historic trade deal with the European Union. Stricter restrictions were extended to much of England to contain the new strain of Covid-19, and China said it would pause flights to and from the UK. A cluster of infections in Sydney is growing and, in the US, New York City hospitalizations are at the highest since May.
Prices rose for a seventh straight week as efforts to pass another US virus relief package added to optimism that the vaccine’s rollout will provide a boost in demand. Futures rose 1.5 percent in New York on Friday, extending this week’s rally to over 5 percent. Talks on a relief package have made some headway, and recent progress in rolling out a Covid-19 vaccine has also buoyed the outlook for consumption. Brent crude settled at $52.26 a barrel after touching $52.48, its highest since March. West Texas Intermediate settled at $49.10 after reaching $49.28, its highest since February.
Oil managed a small weekly gain last week as the impasse in Washington over pandemic relief dimmed chances of an imminent boost in demand. New York futures eased off a nine-month high alongside a broader market decline as bipartisan talks on another round of US fiscal stimulus stalled. West Texas Intermediate rose less than 1 percent for the week closing at $46.57. At week’s end, Bent closed at $49.97 after rallying above $50 earlier in the week for the first time since March. The futures market is primarily focused on the arrival of a vaccine for the coronavirus, which hopefully will open the way for demand to return to normal. Many, however, believe that “normal” demand still is months away and that there is much pain in the immediate future.
Prices rose for a fifth straight week with support from the OPEC+ deal and hopes for another round of US stimulus. Futures in New York and London closed at nine-month highs on Friday, with signs momentum is building toward a fiscal stimulus plan that could provide a demand boost before a vaccine is widely available.
Prices rose for a fourth straight week, buoyed by optimism over Covid-19 vaccine progress ahead of an OPEC+ ministerial meeting this week. Futures in New York advanced 8 percent last week, despite edging lower on Friday. The shape of the oil futures curve firmed over recent sessions, with some nearer-dated futures contracts rising above later-dated ones. It’s a sign of how the market has dramatically repriced the increased likelihood of a vaccine rollout jumpstarting more robust demand next year.
Last week. prices rose to the highest in nearly three months, with positive Covid-19 vaccine developments paving the way for a more sustained oil demand recovery. Futures rose 5 percent in New York for a third straight weekly gain as Pfizer and BioNTech requested emergency authorization of their Covid vaccine Friday. Moderna also released positive interim results from a final-stage trial and said it is close to seeking emergency authorization. Gains were limited by broader market declines amid a dispute between the White House and the Federal Reserve over emergency lending programs. Brent crude closed out the week at $44.96 a barrel. The more active US West Texas Intermediate closed Friday at $42.42.