After the development of Shale gas by the US, OPEC countries are struggling hard to manage the demand supply and price equilibrium of crude oil.
If you're seeking cover from stocks this month, potentially into some other diversified asset classes, the crude oil market is a place that could be offering some high probability cash flow to option writers this Spring.
As Saudi Arabia is overcomplying with the OPEC production cuts and showing fellow OPEC members a "lead by example", the Kingdom cut its crude oil exports in February to the lowest level since May 2015, while Saudi refineries processed record amounts of supply for domestic use.
These predictions are bullish compared to those of Goldman Sachs, which predicts prices hovering around $50 and stabilizing there, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) anxious higher-than-expected inventories could potentially crater prices.
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"The rebalancing in US crude stocks may have got under way, but concerns about further gasoline builds are rife even as the USA summer driving season shifts up a gear", said Stephen Brennock, an analyst with PVM Oil Associates.
OPEC and top nonmember producers reportedly will meet May 25 as they remain publicly undecided over whether to extend production cuts. Crude inventories fell 1.03 million barrels to 532.3 million, the agency reported Wednesday.
Brent crude futures were at $53.08 per barrel at 0430 GMT, up 15 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.
Demand for petroleum products was down slightly from a year ago.
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"A draw in crude oil inventory was ultimately washed by a surprise build in gasoline", said John Macaluso, an analyst at Tyche Capital Advisors.
U.S. gasoline inventories hit 259.1 MMbbls for the week ending February 10, 2017-the highest level ever. In March, Russia reduced oil production by 202,300 barrels per day to 11.046 mln barrels, thus fulfilling 67% of the reduction quota. USA shale production is ramping up aggressively.
With so much industry anticipation, there's a good chance that when OPEC announces an extension of cuts in late May, the market may not react too much.
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Global oil prices therefore face firming upward pressure as the outlook on the world's economic growth is brightening gradually. In the new pipeline reality in North America, however, oil prices could go above these thresholds in the near-term, but a subsequent increase in energy sector investment could produce another "bust" in the market in the form of heightened levels of extraction in the medium-term. The long road to market balance may be slower and bumpier than bullish analysts predict.