Veteran oil watcher says US$100 possible but investor exuberance risks nasty setback
Oil posted its largest quarterly rally since the initial jolt from the war in Ukraine as lower Russian fuel exports threaten to further tighten a market wrestling with OPEC+ production cuts.
Industry data released Friday show Moscow is planning almost no diesel exports next month in order to reduce domestic prices. The move sent European diesel futures rallying back above the psychologically key level of US$1,000 a ton.
U.S. benchmark crude futures cemented their biggest quarterly gain since the period ended in March 2022 on Saudi-led OPEC+ supply cuts and critically low stockpiles at the Cushing hub in the US. On Friday, West Texas Intermediate reversed its earlier gains and slipped to settle below $91, largely tracking the path of U.S. equities.
Many of this week’s most significant oil-market moves have come away from headline prices. Key timespreads have exploded higher amid fears about the availability of U.S. supplies. Meanwhile, gasoline’s premium over crude in the U.S. has plunged in a potential sign that higher crude prices are starting to impinge on margins.
Even with traders casting a wary eye on the demand outlook, little remains to obstruct crude’s march toward $100 a barrel as OPEC forecasts a supply deficit at three million barrels a day next quarter.
“Oil for short-term delivery is being traded at a significant premium, which is an indication of tight supply,” Commerzbank AG analyst Barbara Lambrecht said in a report. “At the same time, demand for oil is continuing to grow. This is tightening the oil market, as evidenced by declining inventories.”
China’s Golden Week holidays, which run through next Friday, are expected to boost consumption as more people fly domestically and on international routes.
- WTI for November fell 92 cents to settle at $90.79 a barrel in New York. Front-month futures rose 29 per cent this quarter
- Brent for November, which expires Friday, fell seven cents to settle at $95.31 a barrel. The more-active December contract settled at $92.20