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Oil Prices Stronger Following More Optimistic Outlook


Oil prices unwound some of Tuesday’s losses rising almost 2% following signs that the market may be tighter than traders had been assuming. It was buoyed by a sharp drop in US crude inventories, a dovish Fed (USD index -0.9%) and OPEC continuing to expect stronger demand than the IEA. But futures contracts still point to a surplus.

  • Brent approached $75 but reached $74.70/bbl. It rose 1.9% on Wednesday to $74.62. Short-term resistance is at $76.66, December 12 high, while support is $71.45, June 23 low.
  • WTI couldn’t quite rise to $70 with the intraday high at $69.89. It finished up 1.8% at $69.87 and has started today slightly higher at $69.92. Resistance is at $71.96, December 12 high, and support $67.28, June 23 low.
  • OPEC’s monthly report was more optimistic continuing to forecast a deficit in Q1 2024. It left its demand projections unchanged, forecasting 2024 to rise by 2.2mbd, double the rate of the IEA (it releases its monthly report later today). OPEC expects China’s economy and thus oil demand to rally in 2024, supported by better growth in the Americas and a gradual European demand recovery.
  • EIA US crude inventories fell 4.26mn barrels in the latest week after -4.63mn. They are now at their lowest level since November 10, which may support prices. But there was a gasoline build of 409k and distillate +1.49mn. Refinery utilisation fell 0.3pp.
  • Australia has been asked by the US to provide a navy ship to defend shipping in the Red Sea. There have been 10 Houthi attacks on ships in the region including on a tanker this week. It is an important waterway for oil and LNG shipments.

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