OIL PRICES: ABOVE $52 AGAIN
According to REUTERS, oil edged higher on Friday as Russia reiterated its commitment to joining a producers' output freeze to stem a two-year slide in prices but a strong dollar capped gains.
Global benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 were 12 cents higher at $51.50 a barrel at 0847 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was trading at $50.65 a barrel up 2 cents from its last settlement.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday an oil output freeze agreement was necessary to prop up prices and that he would make proposals to his Saudi Arabian counterpart this weekend.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will hold a meeting on Nov. 30 to find common ground on capping oil production. This is expected to work out how each member country will contribute to a freeze.
"The near term fundamentals in the oil market have turned positive. Demand is stabilizing, OPEC production has peaked (and will fall if cuts are implemented), and global inventory declines imply that the market is more balanced than many believe," Neil Beveridge of Bernstein Energy said in a note to clients.
But Olivier Jakob, oil analyst at Petromatrix said: "We have been cautious in the current (oil) flat price rally, based on our forecast of an OPEC supply surge in the fourth quarter and a widening of the Brent contango."
A rise in the dollar on Friday to touch a seven-month high against a basket of currencies, in its third straight week of gains, prevented oil prices from pushing higher.
A stronger dollar means dollar-denominated commodities become more expensive to hold, making it less attractive for investors to buy them.
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BP and its partners in Azerbaijan's giant ACG oil production complex agreed Thursday to extend the production sharing contract by 25 years to 2049 and to increase the stake of state-owned SOCAR, reducing the size of their own shares.
The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $123.1 billion (preliminary) in the second quarter of 2017 from $113.5 billion (revised) in the first quarter of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit increased to 2.6 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) from 2.4 percent in the first quarter.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were trading up 41 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $50.30 by 0852 GMT, near the three-month high of $50.50 it reached last Thursday. Brent crude futures LCOc1, the benchmark for oil prices outside the United States, were at $55.91 a barrel, up 29 cents, and also not far from the near five-month high of $55.99 touched on Thursday.
“The principal risk regarding Russian and Chinese activities in Venezuela in the near term is that they will exploit the unfolding crisis, including the effect of US sanctions, to deepen their control over Venezuela’s resources, and their [financial] leverage over the country as an anti-US political and military partner,” observed R. Evan Ellis, a senior associate in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Americas Program.