Oil price climb continues as crude demand looks set to absorb more OPEC barrels

By Anthony Di Paola on 5/31/2021
Saudi Aramco tank farm
Saudi Aramco tank farm

(Bloomberg) --Oil advanced ahead of an OPEC+ policy meeting as traders expect rising demand to absorb a planned production increase from the group as well as any additional crude from Iran.

Futures in New York climbed past $67 a barrel, putting crude on track for a second straight monthly gain. OPEC and its allies are expected to stick with a decision to boost output in July when the group gathers Tuesday, according to a Bloomberg survey last week. While rebounding demand is driving prices higher, the possibility of more barrels from Iran should a nuclear deal be revived is clouding the outlook.

“I’m really looking at what OPEC+ says about the period beyond the next two months and whether they indicate they’re positive about demand continuing to grow and that being able to absorb any more barrels from Iran,” said Ed Bell, an oil analyst at Dubai-based bank Emirates NBD PJSC. “Our balances still point to a deficit of supply in the second half and that points to oil being about where it is now.”

Iran and world powers have resumed discussions that Russia’s envoy to the United Nations in Vienna said “should be final” in determining a path for the U.S. easing sanctions in return for limits on the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program.

The U.S., China and parts of Europe are driving robust demand recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, despite a virus comeback across Asia. American gasoline stockpiles have declined and consumption gained in the lead up to the Memorial Day weekend, which heralds the start of the summer driving season and peak fuel demand.

Prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate for July delivery gained 1.1% to $67.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:03 a.m. London time after advancing 4.3% last week.
  • Futures are up 5.5% this month.
  • Brent for August settlement rose 1% to $69.43 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
  • There are holidays in the U.S. and UK on Monday.

Iran will act swiftly to increase oil production and has no concern about finding buyers for its crude, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters in Tehran Monday. He said the country could reach 6.5 million barrels a day of output. Most analysts put Iran’s maximum capacity at about 3.8 million barrels a day before the U.S. under the administration of Donald Trump tightened sanctions on the country’s energy industry.

When OPEC+ meets on Tuesday, investors will also be looking for any clues on the next stage of the group’s supply policy amid growing expectations for demand to accelerate through the end of the year. As for July, all but four of 24 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg predicted the alliance would ratify a planned increase of 840,000 barrels a day.

A gauge of China’s manufacturing industry, meanwhile, was little changed in May as soaring input prices weighed on smaller factories, suggesting the economy’s recovery momentum might have peaked for now. Indian data later Monday is forecast to show the nation’s gross domestic product during the first quarter posted a slight pickup in growth year-on-year.

Other market news:

  • Iran started its first transfer of crude oil via its strategic Goreh-Jask pipeline, allowing the country to bypass the Strait of Hormuz, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
  • Total SE shareholders gave broad endorsement to Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne’s plan to reduce carbon emissions by gradually scaling back oil-product sales in favor of renewables and liquefied natural gas.

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