By Saket Sundria, Serene Cheong and Alex Longley
Global stockpiles in onshore tanks and floating storage are estimated by the International Energy Agency to have shrunk by about 300 million barrels since OPEC and its allies made deep production cuts in May. Reduced supply and the vaccine-driven demand boost have entrenched Brent’s futures price curve in a bullish backwardation structure, which encourages more draining of oil tanks.
China has been a key driver of the market rebound. The number of tankers sailing toward the nation jumped to a six-month high on Friday. Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said last week that fuel sales in the nation are back into “significant growth mode.” Meanwhile, Indian demand is almost back to year-ago levels as consumption of cooking fuels and gasoline surged on the back of forced lifestyle changes due to the virus.
“Managing to breach $60 again feels like the market is finally resurfacing after the long struggle,” said Paola Rodriguez Masiu, vice president for oil markets at Rystad Energy A/S.
The rally has been widespread across commodities and equity markets. But risks remain as a new virus variant spreads in the U.S., while other countries are still grappling with lockdowns. Top traders Vitol SA and Gunvor Group Ltd. have cautioned about the recent surge in prices and one technical indicator is showing that oil is overbought and due for a decline.
The market is “getting ahead of itself in terms of a post-vaccine euphoria,” Mike Muller, the head of Vitol’s Asian operations, said Sunday in an interview with Dubai-based consultant Gulf Intelligence. Gains beyond $60 a barrel are unlikely because that would prompt energy companies to ramp up production, Gunvor Chief Executive Officer Torbjorn Tornqvist said on Friday.
|Other oil market news|