Oil jumps 2 percent; more investors expect output cut extension


OPEC in its March oil market report released recently, raised its forecast for oil supply growth from non-members in 2017, but kept its outlook for global crude demand unchanged.

Brent crude LCOc1 was down 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, from its last close at $52.03 per barrel at 0244 GMT. With U.S. shale oil production surging, inventories remain stubbornly high and prices appear stuck in the low-$50s per-barrel range.

Oil prices have gained support from the supply cut pact but high inventories and rising US production have acted as a brake on the recovery.

"At 520.8 million barrels, US crude oil inventories are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year", the report said.

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United States production has risen 850,000 barrels per day (bpd) from its 2016 lows to 9.3 million bpd now, not far from the all-time record set in 2015.

West Texas Intermediate for June delivery rose as much as 37 cents to $49.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $48.87 at 1:27 p.m.in London. "Following the Saudi-Russia announcement, a nine-month extension of current targets by Opec at next week's meeting appears to already be largely priced in".

"On average, Russian Federation cut its oil production by 260,000 barrels per day in April, as in early April, it was reduced by 200,000 barrels per day and then by 300,000 barrels per day as of late April", the Minister said.

Can OPEC push crude oil prices higher? Iraq is committed to cut its share of output for an additional six months to achieve better prices, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said at a news conference in Baghdad.

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The Brent price rose above $50 a barrel when the news emerged on 10 May after a period of largely sub-$50 prices from 21 April.

According to the report, commercial inventories decreased for a second straight month in March, by 32.9 million barrels to 3.025 billion barrels.

"One of the biggest difficulties facing the cartel, however, is that there is a lag between output cuts and inventory changes", Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note. Novak however refused to reveal the names of the participating countries.

But more cargoes are flowing right back into its tanks, which can hold 45 million barrels, as sellers struggle to find refiners to buy freshly loaded oil, the traders said. That should help tighten the oil market and push up prices as demand rises gradually this year, he said. We could revise our price view higher should production costs begin to pick up at a faster rate than producers can improve efficiency.

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