Oil extends gain on Saudi output pledge, Trump trade flexibility

By Sharon Cho and Grant Smith on 2/13/2019
Photo: Saudi Aramco.

SINGAPORE and LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Oil climbed for a second day after Saudi Arabia pledged to deepen production cuts and U.S. President Donald Trump said he might extend a deadline for additional tariffs on China.

Futures in New York added as much as 1.5% after rising 1.3% Tuesday. The world’s biggest crude exporter will continue to curb output more than required by a December deal among top producers, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told the Financial Times Wednesday. Trump said he’s open to extending the March 1 deadline if the U.S. and China are close to a trade agreement.

Oil has advanced around 18% this year as the OPEC+ coalition cuts production, although the rally has sputtered this month amid record American shale output and rising angst over the trade war. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ “shock and awe” strategy of curbing supplies would push crude higher, while investors were too pessimistic on the demand outlook. In another bullish sign, U.S. inventories were said to have fallen last week before government data due Wednesday.

“Oil is rallying further as investors were given confirmation that the Saudis will curtail output, and they see a lower chance of the trade tensions escalating at the moment,” said Kim Kwangrae, a commodities analyst at Samsung Futures Inc. in Seoul. “Expectations of lower American crude stockpiles added to the optimism.”

West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery rose 31 cents to $53.41/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 8:40 a.m. local time after climbing as much as 79 cents earlier. The contract gained 69 cents on Tuesday to $53.10.

Brent for April settlement advanced 53 cents to $62.95/bbl on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after adding 1.5% on Tuesday. The global crude benchmark traded at a $9.14 premium to WTI.

Saudi supplies
Saudi Arabia is planning to reduce its crude exports to 6.9 MMbpd next month and pump 9.8 MMbbl, Al-Falih told the Financial Times. The kingdom is seeking to acquire oil and gas assets outside the country and is no longer focused only on monetizing its own resources, he said.

The possible extension of the White House’s March 1 deadline on tariffs increased investor optimism that the world’s two largest economies can resolve their trade spat, boosting stocks around the world. U.S. and Chinese negotiators are meeting in Beijing this week.


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