Commodities Report: Oil Prices Rise for a Sixth Session Talk of New Saudi Cuts Lifts Oil Prices — WSJ

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January 8, 2019

Commodities Report: Oil Prices Rise for a Sixth Session Talk of New Saudi Cuts Lifts Oil Prices — WSJ

By Dan Molinski and Christopher Alessi

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (January 8, 2019).

— U.S. oil prices rose for a sixth straight session Monday, the longest upward streak since July 2017, amid easing trade and economic worries, and after a report said Saudi Arabia would further reduce its crude-oil exports.

— West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. oil standard, ended 1.2% higher at $48.52 a barrel.

— Brent, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.5% to $57.33 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange. Brent has also risen six consecutive sessions, the most since January 2018.

HIGHLIGHTS

Saudis: U.S. oil prices reached an intraday high of $49.79 a barrel around midmorning in New York after unnamed OPEC officials told The Wall Street Journal that Saudi Arabia plans to make new cuts to its crude-oil exports in the hopes of lifting oil prices. The officials said Saudi Arabia aims to lift prices to cover a huge government-spending boost — and plans to cut crude exports to 7.1 million barrels a day by the end of January. This compares to 7.3 million last month and 7.9 million in November. “The news that the Saudis will be more aggressive in cutting production will take prices back to the $55 level soon,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital.

Positive Sentiment: Crude prices were already tracking higher during the overnight session following positive sentiment from last week, including a strong U.S. jobs report and hopes for a resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute, said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets. Oil rose in tandem with global and U.S. equity markets Friday. However, Mr. Schieldrop said, “It’s hard to say if it’s the start of a more long-term rally or a short-term bounce.”

OPEC+: Crude prices have also been supported by production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies that came into effect at the start of the month. OPEC and its production partners outside the cartel, led by Russia, agreed in early December to collectively hold back output by 1.2 million barrels a day for the first half of 2019. The “cuts will prevent a strong rise in inventories,” SEB’s Mr. Schieldrop said.

INSIGHT

Goldman Outlook: Goldman Sachs sees WTI oil recovering slightly to average $55.50 a barrel this year, which is still well below forecasts before prices collapsed in October. “We expect that the oil market will balance at a lower marginal cost in 2019 given: (1) higher inventory levels to start the year, (2) the persistent beat in 2018 shale-production growth amidst little observed cost inflation, (3) weaker than previously expected demand growth expectations (even at our above consensus forecasts) and (4) increased low-cost production capacity,” Goldman said in a research note Sunday. “Our 2019 average forecasts are $62.5/bbl for Brent and $55.5/bbl for WTI with our 2020 respective forecasts unchanged at $60.0/bbl and $54.5/bbl.”

AHEAD

— The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, Tuesday reports weekly data on U.S. inventories, followed by official government data from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.

–Benoit Faucon and Summer Said contributed to this article.

Write to Dan Molinski at Dan.Molinski@wsj.com and Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 08, 2019 02:32 ET (07:32 GMT)

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