OIL PRICE: NEAR $70 YET
REUTERS - Oil prices fell on Friday, with Brent slipping away from the $70 mark reached the previous day, pulled down by worries about progress in the U.S.-China trade talks.
International benchmark Brent futures dropped 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $69.25 a barrel by 0455 GMT, having touched $70.03 in the previous session, the highest since Nov. 12.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 1 cent at $62.09. The contract fell 36 cents in the previous session, having hit $62.99 on Wednesday, its highest since Nov 7.
Weighing on prices are concerns that an economic slowdown could dent fuel consumption, traders said.
The United States and China, the world's two biggest oil consumers, could be close to a deal to end their trade dispute though some hurdles remain.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said the two sides were "very close to making a deal," though the United States remains hesitant to lift $250 billion in tariffs that China is seeking to have removed.
Prices for thermal coal and natural gas, the main power generation fuels, have already fallen sharply amid a marked slowdown in consumption.
Still, Brent is heading for a second week of gains, while WTI is on track for a fifth consecutive weekly rise.
Brent has gained nearly 30 percent this year, while WTI has risen nearly 40 percent, underpinned by production cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and producer allies such as Russia, together known as OPEC+, agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) this year to prop up prices.
Consultancy Rystad Energy said ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts would support oil prices towards the second half of this year and into 2020.
"We retain our bullish stance for the second half of 2019 and first half of 2020 as we anticipate OPEC+ to extend production cuts through 2019, while we also expect bullish oil market effects due to the introduction of IMO 2020 regulations on sulfur content in marine fuels," said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will mandate all shippers use fuel with a reduced sulfur content, resulting in a sharp increase in diesel consumption and the use of low-sulfur fuel oil.
Somewhat undermining the OPEC-led efforts to prop up the market is surging U.S. oil production, which according to official data rose to a record 12.2 million bpd last week.
As a result, U.S. crude oil stockpiles soared last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
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Oil prices rose for a fourth day on Wednesday, pushing Brent towards $70 a barrel as support from OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions overshadowed a report showing an unexpected rise in U.S. inventories.
Oil prices rose on Monday, adding to gains in the first quarter when the major benchmarks posted their biggest increases in nearly a decade, as concerns about supplies outweigh fears of a slowing global economy.
Oil prices rose on Friday on the back of ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, putting crude markets on track for their biggest quarterly rise since 2009.
Oil prices were mixed on Wednesday, with Brent extending the previous session’s rise, but gains were kept in check amid growing fears over the impact of a global economic slowdown on demand.
Oil prices slipped on Monday, with concerns of a sharp economic slowdown outweighing supply disruptions from OPEC’s production cutbacks and from U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
Oil hovered slightly below 2019 peaks on Friday, propped up by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and by U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
Oil prices edged up on Wednesday, supported by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela,
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South Korea's economy has been pushing to shed its heavy reliance on coal and nuclear power, with the latest target coming on top of a 2017 plan to increase the amount of renewables in its energy mix to 20 percent by 2030.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), has forecast the UAE’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow 4.7 percent to AED1.673 trillion in 2019, compared to AED1.589 trillion a year ago.
the goods and services deficit was $49.4 billion in February, down $1.8 billion from $51.1 billion in January,
BHGE - U.S. Rig Count is down 10 rigs from last week to 1,012, with oil rigs down 8 to 825, gas rigs down 2 to 187, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 0. Canada Rig Count unchanged from last week at 66, with oil rigs up 1 to 19 and gas rigs down 1 to 47.