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Oil Trades at Six-Week High on Supply Cuts and Demand Recovery


By Saket Sundria and Alex Longley

(Bloomberg) Oil is heading for a third weekly gain on signs the market is slowly rebalancing as major producers slash supply and consumption recovers after a historic collapse in demand due to the coronavirus.Futures in New York are up about 13% this week and traded near a six-week high on Friday around $28 a barrel. China’s industrial output increased in April for the first time since the outbreak, signaling economic recovery aided by government stimulus efforts. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has slashed supply to its customers in the U.S., Europe and Asia as OPEC and its allies reduce production sharply.

Oil set for its longest run of weekly gains since January on signs of rebalancing

Oil is down more than 50% this year after a rout that pushed prices below zero and the road back to pre-virus levels of demand looks long and uncertain. Still, bright sports have emerged this week, with BP Plc seeing oil demand surging back and the International Energy Agency saying the market’s outlook has improved. OPEC+ has cut daily exports by almost 6 million barrels during the first 14 days of this month, according to Petro-Logistics, buoying the global Brent benchmark above $30.

“We believe stocks will be reduced gradually over the next 12 months or so,” said Rystad Energy head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen. “Brent stabilizing above $30 gives the market confidence that frightening days of negative prices and record daily declines are behind us.”

Prices
  • West Texas Intermediate for June delivery gained 1.8% to $28.05 a barrel as of 10:46 a.m. London time
  • Brent for July settlement climbed 2.2% to $31.82 a barrel

Signs of a tighter market are increasing across the globe. Timespreads — market indicators that point to the level of oversupply — are the least bearish in about two months in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East. Options markets have also turned their least bearish since March.

Industrial output in China rose 3.9% from a year earlier, reversing a drop of 1.1% in March, data showed Friday. In spite of the improvement, the Chinese economy “hasn’t returned to normal level,” said Liu Aihua, a spokeswoman for the National Bureau of Statistics.

Read: Oil Likely to Avoid Repeat of April’s Negative Price Shock

The market recovery remains fragile. Over 30 tankers laden with Saudi Arabian oil are set to reach the U.S. in May and June, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg, putting fresh pressure on storage just as a glut in America shows signs of easing

Other oil-market news
  • U.S. driving is nearly back to levels seen before virus lockdowns based on data using Apple Maps, according to a research note from Deutsche Bank AG.
  • A swirl of thunderstorms and clouds in the Florida Straits will likely become the first named Atlantic storm of 2020, which would mark a record sixth year in a row one formed before the official June 1 start of hurricane season.
  • Colombia, an oil producer badly hurt by the global price rout, may be one of the rare countries unable to rebound even as prices rise.


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