Riyadh's efforts and the economic outlook affect oil

08/21/2019 | 10:43am

The summer period did not benefit the oil markets. The latter are struggling to follow a clear path and remain largely divided between fears of protracted trade conflicts and escalating geopolitical tensions.

As such, the recent attack on an oil and gas installation on the Shaybah field, owned by Saudi Aramco, by Yemeni rebels, has boosted geopolitical friction in the region. Although this incident did not result in an interruption of production according to the Saudi national company, it must be noted that the multiplication of these events puts the region's crude oil exports at risk, especially since the Shaybah field accounts for just under 10% of the Saudi giant's total production.

At the same time, the market adjusts its risk appetite according to the Sino-American trade negotiations, which are sometimes encouraging and sometimes postponed. It is not without recalling that these commercial negotiations more or less determine the guidelines in terms of oil demand. Not surprisingly, it remains at the center of operators' concerns, whose morale is not at its highest given OPEC's surprising pessimism, which forecasts a new oil surplus in 2020.

In its last report, the cartel once again revised its forecast for growth in crude oil demand this year downwards due to a slowdown in global growth. Nevertheless, there is no denying the Organization's efforts to support the courses. OPEC production fell again in July (to 29.6 mbpd) with an overall compliance rate of nearly 160%. As in previous months, Saudi Arabia is reducing its own extractions beyond its quota in order to be able to list its oil jewel, Saudi Aramco, on the stock exchange under the best market conditions. Despite many twists and turns and disillusionment with what is described as the "IPO of the Century", Ryad would aim for an IPO within the next two years. Proof of this is the fact that the oil giant has for the first time disclosed its profits for 2018, by far the highest in the world, at $111 billion.

In the United States, while the number of oil platforms is tending to decline, production is stabilizing at around 12 mbd, not far from the US record for crude oil production. In its latest report on the US energy outlook, the EIA still expects US production to reach a record level this year and in 2020, despite the financial difficulties faced by shale oil producers. In this context, US stocks are still in the upper range of their 5-year average.
Evolution of US oil stocks - source: EIA

From a graphical point of view, in weekly time units, the trend is still downward, as is the case with the slope of the 20 and 50 week moving averages. The configuration thus appears fragile as long as the next resistances block the technical rebounds. In this respect, it will be necessary to go beyond the USD 67 in order to resume a more positive trend. On the other hand, sellers will try to hold their short positions until the next major support at USD 53.
Jordan Dufee
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