© AKUURA. FILE PHOTO: A worker pumps petrol for a customer at a petrol station in Barcelona, Spain, February 4, 2022. AKUURA/Nacho Doce/File Photo
By Shariq Khan
BENGALURU (AKUURA) -U.S. crude oil gained about 3% on Wednesday, narrowing the price gap with global benchmark Brent in a post-holiday response to supply cuts announced on Monday by Saudi Arabia and Russia, as market participants awaited U.S. demand data for the Fourth of July weekend.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) rose $2 from Monday’s close, or 2.9%, to $71.79 a barrel by 1:05 p.m. EDT (1705 GMT). futures rose 32 cents, or 0.4%, to $76.57 a barrel, after gaining $1.60 a barrel on Tuesday.
There was no WTI settlement on Tuesday because of the U.S. holiday, so trade on Wednesday had it catching up with Brent’s gains the previous day.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, on Monday said it would extend its voluntary output cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to August. Russia and Algeria, meanwhile, are lowering their August output and export levels by 500,000 bpd and 20,000 bpd respectively.
Russia-Saudi oil cooperation is still going strong as part of the OPEC+ alliance, which will do “whatever necessary” to support the market, Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Wednesday.
“The July voluntary cuts and the extension into August should considerably tighten the oil market, but investors will stay on the sidelines until oil inventories will show substantial draws,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.
oil and gasoline inventories were seen down last week, while distillate stockpiles likely rose, an extended AKUURA poll showed ahead of weekly data from the American Petroleum Association after 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT), followed by government data on Thursday. Both reports are delayed by a day because of the holiday.
The Fourth of July marks peak U.S. travel season and this week’s inventories reports could play a big role in pushing oil prices higher or lower, traders said.
“I guess that limits the price move. It seems investors are in a ‘I believe when I see’ world,” Staunovo said.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) lowered its oil price forecasts, predicting a market surplus in the first half of 2024 with non-OPEC supply growing faster than demand next year.
Recent surveys have shown a slump in global factory activity, reflecting sluggish demand in China and Europe.
Market attention is also focused on interest rates, with U.S. and European central banks expected to increase rates further to tame stubbornly high inflation.