Oil rises on predictions that market may rebalance in June

Historic output cuts try to deal with glut of supplies as pandemic hits demand

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Oil rose above $34 a barrel following a prediction from Russia that the market may rebalance as early as next month after historic output cuts from global producers to drain a glut.

Russia, a member of the Opec+ alliance that has pledged to trim daily supply by almost 10 million barrels a day, expects the market to balance in June or July. Energy minister Alexander Novak said global curbs have so far exceeded those agreed by the coalition. Futures in New York were 3.3 per cent higher from Friday’s close after there was no settlement Monday due to a holiday.

Oil has surged more than 80 per cent this month as demand returned following the easing of lockdown restrictions in some countries, while output cuts have started to chip away at the oversupply. Despite expectations that a recovery will be long and uncertain, the International Energy Agency forecast oil consumption will be reduced only briefly before expanding past the level seen before the outbreak.

The world consumed nearly 100 million barrels a day of oil last year, which some in the energy industry believe could mark the peak for demand. Their hypothesis is that the coronavirus pandemic will trigger changes of lifestyle like working-from-home and less overseas travel.

“The market is starting to witness the effect of output cuts along with a reduction in inventories, while the global economy is on its path to recovery,” Will Sungchil Yun, commodities analyst at VI Investment Corp, said by phone from Seoul. “Still, there’s caution with the absence of a cure for the pandemic as well as the possibility of a second wave of infections.”

Around the world, producers have slashed global production by 14 million to 15 million barrels a day so far, Russia’s Novak said on Monday. The nation sees the current global surplus at 7 million to 12 million barrels a day, according to a report from RIA Novosti.

US crude inventories at the US storage hub of Cushing fell by the most on record in the week through May 15th, while nationwide stockpiles have posted back-to-back declines. Shale explorers reduced the number of active oil rigs for a 10th week to the lowest level since 2009.

Big oil’s annual general meetings in the US and Europe this week should shed light on how heavily producers have been hit by lockdowns, with Total, BP, Exxon Mobil and Chevron among those fronting shareholders. – Bloomberg