Oil Prices Experience Downturn Amidst OPEC+ Supply Cut Uncertainty and Demand Growth Concerns
Posted 04/12/2023 11:35
The oil market witnessed a shift in momentum as projected futures declined after a brief uptick on Monday. This reversal comes amid ongoing pressure stemming from the recent OPEC+ decision and lingering uncertainties surrounding global fuel demand growth. However, the potential for supply disruptions in the Middle East conflict acted as a mitigating factor, curbing overall losses.
As of 0735 GMT, Brent crude futures saw a 0.9 percent decrease, equivalent to 73 cents, settling at $78.15 per barrel. Simultaneously, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures posted an 0.8 percent decline, or 64 cents, reaching $73.43 per barrel.
Founder of oil market analysis provider Vanda Insights, Vandana Hari, remarked, “Crude seems to be under continued pressure from the OPEC+ decision. Some degree of discounting of the deeper OPEC+ cuts is justified, but as of now, the crude complex has completely disregarded them.”
Last week witnessed a more than 2 percent drop in oil prices, driven by investor skepticism about the depth of supply cuts pledged by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+. Concurrent concerns over sluggish global manufacturing activity contributed to this decline.
The OPEC+ cuts, announced on Thursday, were described as voluntary, leading to uncertainties about the extent to which producers would implement them. Investors also grappled with uncertainties regarding the metrics for measuring these cuts.
Market analyst at CMC, Tina Teng, noted, “However, oil prices may continue to be under pressure for the time being due to China’s disappointing economic recovery and the ramp-up of U.S. production.”
Baker Hughes reported a significant increase in U.S. oil rigs, rising by five to reach 505 for the current week – the highest level observed since September.
The article also highlighted intensified efforts by Western countries to enforce a $60 per barrel price cap on seaborne shipments of Russian oil, imposed in response to Moscow's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. Additionally, Washington announced additional sanctions on three entities and three oil tankers related to Russian oil.
In a separate development, the White House indicated its readiness to “pause” sanctions relief for OPEC member Venezuela in the coming days. This pause would be contingent on further progress in the release of Venezuelan political prisoners and individuals deemed "wrongfully detained" by the American government. Meanwhile, India has resumed its oil purchases from Venezuela.