Brent, WTI Prices Steady After 3-Week Highs

Brent, WTI Prices Steady After 3-Week HighsBrent, WTI Prices Steady After 3-Week Highs

Oil steadied around its highest prices in three weeks on Monday, supported by comments from Saudi Arabia that it would continue to curb shipments in line with the OPEC-led effort to cut global supplies.

Brent crude was down 8 cents on the day at $67.23 a barrel, after having risen almost 4% last week in its largest weekly gain since late October, Reuters reported.

US West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery eased 5 cents to $63.50 a barrel after rising 3% last week.

Both contracts earlier rose to their highest since Feb. 7.

A cold snap across Europe has encouraged some refiners to delay maintenance, which could support demand and help put an end to a mild bout of profit-taking, analysts said.

“There is a bit of a bearish twinge to everything ... but we believe in the second half of the year, you’ll see demand pull the market back up again,” Natixis oil analyst, Joel Hancock, said.

“Our view is demand will be strong enough, but we do not see a big breakout. $60 to 70 is the range we are seeing for this year.”

Prices did draw some support from Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih, who on Saturday said the country’s crude production in January-March would be well below output caps, with exports averaging less than 7 million barrels per day.

"Saudi Arabia hopes OPEC and its allies will be able to relax production curbs next year and create a permanent framework to stabilize oil markets after the current agreement on supply cuts ends this year," Falih said.

 “A study is taking place and once we know exactly what balancing the market will entail, we will announce what is the next step. The next step may be easing of the production constraints,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

“My estimation is that it will happen sometime in 2019. But we don’t know when and we don’t know how."

US energy companies last week added one oil rig, the fifth weekly increase in a row, bringing the total count up to 799, the highest since April 2015, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday. Hedge funds and money managers upped their bullish wagers on US crude oil for the first time in four weeks, data showed on Friday.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints