OIL PRICES MAXIMUM ANEW
BLOOMBERG - Oil reached levels last seen more than two years ago as Saudi Arabian King Salman's anti-corruption drive shook the world's biggest crude exporter just weeks before major producers gather to discuss prolonging historic production caps.
Futures advanced as much as 1.2 percent in New York. The purge eliminated potential rivals to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and included a member of the royal council overseeing state oil producer Saudi Aramco and one of its directors. The arrests of princes, government ministers and billionaires may cast a shadow over the Nov. 30 OPEC meeting.
"The geopolitical supply risk premium is starting to bear its head in the market right now because OPEC supply cuts have made it relevant," Michael Loewen, a commodities strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto, said by telephone. Now that OPEC "has capped supply and demand has continued to grow higher over time, we are near balanced and that means supply risk is more important."
Oil has advanced for four straight weeks in New York on signs that a global glut is shrinking in response to output caps implemented by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers including Russia. At the Nov. 30 gathering, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other major suppliers are expected to make the case for extending the limits beyond their March expiration.
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery rose 23 cents to $55.87 a barrel at 10:04 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier rising to $56.28, the highest intraday price since July 2015.
Brent for January settlement climbed 46 cents to $62.53 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, and traded at a $6.41 premium to WTI for the same month.
Security forces arrested 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of former ministers and prominent businessmen, according to Saudi media and a senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"I wouldn't expect a change of strategy for Saudi Arabia" in terms of production and OPEC policy, Rupert Harrison, chief macro strategist at BlackRock International Ltd., said in a Bloomberg television interview. "But clearly the risk is always from disruption, and that's the uncertainty that hangs over this and is always very hard to call."
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U.S. EIA - Venezuela holds the largest oil reserves in the world, in large part because of the heavy oil reserves in the Orinoco Oil Basin. In addition to oil reserves, Venezuela has sizeable natural gas reserves, although the development of natural gas lags significantly behind that of oil. However, in the wake of political and economic instability in the country, crude oil production has dramatically decreased, reaching a multi-decades low in mid-2018.
U.S. BEA - The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $124.1 billion (preliminary) in the first quarter of 2018 from $116.1 billion (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit was 2.5 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter, up from 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter.
WNN - There are 126 operational power reactors in 14 EU Member States, providing more than one-quarter of the bloc's total electricity production. In its Communication on the Nuclear Illustrative Program (PINC) published last year, the European Commission expects nuclear to maintain its significant role in Europe's energy mix up to 2050. This would require investment of some EUR40-50 billion (USD46-58 billion) in nuclear LTO by 2050.
REUTERS - Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up 50 cents at $75.58 a barrel by 0835 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 50 cents higher at $65.57.