Ongoing oil price rally sees futures gain 30% so far this year




By Elizabeth Low and Alex Longley on 2/23/2021

(Bloomberg) –Oil rose near $62 a barrel with investment banks and traders predicting the market’s rally can go further.

Futures in New York gained 0.8% on Tuesday and are up almost 30% so far this year. The market is heading toward what could be the tightest quarter since at least 2000, according to Morgan Stanley, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel this year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. will also help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Fuel flows from Asia to the U.S. have gained after the cold blast left some of the biggest refineries facing a slow and messy restart.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

Prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate gained 50 cents to $62.20 a barrel at 10:44 a.m. London time
  • Brent for April settlement added 0.8% to $65.79

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 96 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

The global oil market has been under-supplied by 2.8 million barrels a day so far this year, Morgan Stanley said in a note, boosting its Brent forecast for the third quarter to $70 a barrel. Goldman has raised its estimate for the same period to $75, while Socar said $100 was possible in the next 18 to 24 months.

Other oil-market news:

  • China’s oil inventories rose by 16 million barrels in the week through Feb. 14 to 1.01 billion barrels, up for the third straight week, data provided by market intelligence firm Kayrros show.
  • U.S. shale explorers lost hundreds of millions of dollars in oil production from last week’s historic freeze that crippled Texas and left millions without power or water for days.

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