OIL PRICES: $45.32
Light, sweet crude prices settled at $44.66/bbl on the New York market on May 6, up modestly, as analysts monitored wildfires in Canada's oil sands region and also noted statistics showing strong Chinese crude oil imports.
During the weekend, Saudi Arabia appointed Khalid al-Falih, chairman of Saudi Aramco, as the Saudi oil minister, succeeding Ali al-Naimi. Analysts were uncertain what the Saudi oil ministry shuffle might mean for long-term oil prices.
Analysts agreed uncertainty about Canada's near-term oil production will be a main driver for oil prices this week.
Announcements from oil sands producers showed the fires to have caused at least 645,000 b/d in production to be taken off the market, but the total figure is believed higher because not all operators have announced fire-related production figures yet.
"This production isn't gone for good, yet when fires are controlled, restarting production will take several more weeks, even without damage," Morgan Stanley said in a research note.
Barclays Commodities Research issued a May 9 research note saying China's net oil imports remained firm.
"In volume terms, crude oil net imports were 8.3% higher year-over-year, which was the second highest level on record," Barclays said. China crude oil imports during April were 7.9 million b/d, up 335,000 b/d from March. The highest monthly import rate on record was 8.02 million b/d during February.
Barclays analysts said China's imports could be lower in May because of logistical bottlenecks and refinery maintenance schedules.
The June crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed 34¢ to settle at $44.66/bbl, and the July contract gained 41¢ to $45.32/bbl.
The NYMEX natural gas contract for June gained 2.5¢ to $2.10/MMbtu. The Henry Hub price was $1.84/MMbtu, down 20¢.
Heating oil for June delivery edged up less than a penny to a rounded $1.34/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for June gained a rounded 0.5¢ to remain at a rounded $1.49/gal.
The Brent crude contract for July on London's ICE was up 36¢ to $45.37/bbl. The August contract gained 41¢ to $45.86/bbl. The May gas oil contract was $400/tonne, up $1.25.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries basket of crudes was $40.55/bbl, down 60¢.
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AN - China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is willing to invest $3 billion in its existing oil and gas operation in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday following a meeting with the Chinese in Abuja.
REUTERS - Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oil field was expected to fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Saturday after two staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.
IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.