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Brent Highest Since 2014 as Traders Bullish, OPEC Ignores Trump


Sep 25, 2018, by Tsuyoshi Inajima and Alex Longley
(Bloomberg)

Brent crude extended gains from the highest level in almost four years as banks and trading houses formed a chorus of voices arguing that prices may spike after OPEC and its allies rebuffed President Donald Trump’s call to rapidly boost production.

Futures in London rose as much as 1.2 percent after a 3.1 percent advance Monday. Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. and Trafigura Group expect the return of $100 a barrel, last seen in 2014, due to a potential loss in Iranian supply. Bank of America Corp. joined JPMorgan Chase & Co. in predicting higher prices.

Oil rallied after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners stopped short of pledging immediate production increases even though looming U.S. sanctions on Iran have started removing barrels from the market. Still, a trade standoff between America and China could put global economic growth and energy demand at risk in the longer term, with BP Plc warning that the concern hasn’t been priced into crude yet.

“The price is still finding buoyancy from Sunday’s decision by the OPEC+ group not to increase oil production initially,” Commerzbank AG analysts including Eugen Weinberg wrote in a report.

Brent for November settlement rose as much as $1 to $82.20 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange and traded at $81.94 at 11:27 a.m. in London. The contract climbed $2.40 to $81.20 a barrel on Monday, the highest since November 2014. The global benchmark traded at a $9.45 premium to West Texas Intermediate.

WTI for November delivery traded at $72.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 42 cents, after rising $1.30 on Monday. Total volume traded was about 27 percent below the 100-day average.

With the U.S. sanctions on Iran taking full effect in early November, $100 crude could be becoming more realistic, according to some of the biggest oil traders. Brent may spike to above that level in the fourth quarter as the market doesn’t have enough excess capacity to replace Iranian barrels, Mercuria co-founder Daniel Jaeggi said this week. That bullish prediction was echoed by Trafigura co-head of oil trading Ben Luckock, who said Iran’s supply will be lower than what most people expect.

Other oil-market news:

Unipec, the trading unit of top Chinese refiner Sinopec, has put a plan to boost U.S. crude imports on hold as it assesses the impact of the Asian nation’s trade war with America, according to company president Chen Bo. U.S. crude exports may rise to 5 million barrels a day by 2025 from 2 million barrels a day this year, said Thomas Waymel, president of trading and shipping at Total SA. The total number of options traded on Brent crude surged on Monday to about 274,000 contracts, the highest ever, spurred by bets on a price of $100 or more. Implementation of IMO 2020 sulfur rules won’t be delayed, according to Edmund Hughes, head of air pollution & energy efficiency at IMO’s marine environment division.



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