April 24, 2019

OPEC's oil exports to United States fell to five-year low in January

07 February 2019, 01:57 | Joann Bryant

Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Maduro

Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Maduro

Benchmark Brent crude had slipped 62 cents to $61.36 a barrel by 1000 GMT, after rallying about 15 percent in January.

There is ample spare capacity in other oil producers and strategic reserves to compensate for a loss of Venezuela's crude exports, helping explain the tepid reaction of global oil prices to US sanctions announced a week ago.

USA crude inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 70 cents, or 1.27 percent, to settle at $54.56 a barrel.

Analysts said that US sanctions on Venezuela had focused market attention on tighter global supplies. They closed down 1.3 percent on Monday, after earlier touching their highest since November 21 at $55.75 a barrel.

Market participants have already been focused on signs of tightening global crude supply after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies began an agreement in January to cut output.

OPEC oil supply fell in January by the largest amount in two years despite sluggish production declines from Russian Federation, according to a Reuters survey. USA crude was down 48 cents at $53.18.

Analysts said that USA sanctions on Venezuela had focused market attention on tighter global supplies.

National Security Adviser John Bolton and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announce sanctions against Venezuela state-owned oil company PDVSA and embattled president Nicolas Maduro.

The United States has promised to soften the sanctions against PDVSA if Caracas transfers control over the company to opposition leader Juan Guaido or any democratically elected government.

Morse predicted that moving forward "We have plenty of potentially bullish moves in the market" following a period of soft demand before the seasonal fuel consumption rise begins around May, with Brent rising into the mid-$60 range and hitting $70 before year end - which the researcher believes will encourage USA producers to allocate more money to drilling.

However, while OPEC is cutting output, the United States has expanded supply, with production most recently totaling 11.9 million bpd.

"The market seems to be turning on renewed worries that there doesn't seem to be a lot of progress on the U.S". Buyers were also encouraged to shed long positions on renewed concerns over lower demand due to the slowdown in China's economy amid uncertainty over U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address that a trade deal with China was possible.

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