Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kuwaiti strikers propping up crude prices

The ongoing Kuwaiti oil strike has cut the country’s output for a fourth successive session, US inventory data overnight was price supportive and Iraq is fanning talk of another oil producers’ meeting in May. 

End result is that Brent is above $45 per barrel but remains vulnerable to a correction. Non-OPEC supply declines have started to bite, but risk premium won’t kick in until excess oil falls below 1 million barrels per day (bpd). Even with ongoing refinery maintenance in certain corners of the world and the Kuwaiti oil strike - which has seen its output plummet to 1.5 million bpd from 2.8 million bpd - there is still plenty of the crude stuff on the market.

Whichever way both Brent and WTI futures go, the $40-50 per barrel range is likely to be maintained, and a drop to $35 per barrel remains a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, an uptick in crude oil futures (and iron ore) is driving forex market trends too with beleaguered commodities linked currencies getting some respite.

Mexican peso, Aussie and Canadian dollars are all up versus the greenback. Kit Juckes, head of forex at Societe Generale, said, "With BHP warning of a near-term correction (downwards) and with output of iron ore soaring, the rally should be treated with a bit of caution, but it's going to go on supporting the Australian dollar for now.

"The oil price rally by contrast has better foundations as the supply/demand imbalance is slowly being resolved and while the upside is limited, confidence that the cycle has turned is growing and that will remain a big FX driver. We're long AUD/NZD and the iron ore bounce should help, and short USD/CAD, EUR/RUB and GBP/NOK, all trades which get help from rising oil prices."

Reverting back to the oil glut story - it has some way to run yet, but for the moment Iran ought to thank Kuwaiti strikers for neutralising the Doha Talks farce. That’s all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2016. Photo: Oil pipeline © Cairn Energy Plc

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