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Oil Fluctuates Near $76 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting on Supply Policy

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These translations are done via Google Translate
Jan 4, 2022(Bloomberg)

Oil fluctuated before an OPEC+ meeting that’s expected to see the alliance agree to another output boost next month.

Futures in New York swung between gains and losses near $76 a barrel. OPEC+ is set to ratify a 400,000-barrel-a-day increase for February when it gathers on Tuesday, delegates said.

That’s despite concerns that demand could be weakened by virus flare-ups, including in China, the biggest oil importer.

Oil fluctuates ahead of the group's meeting

The overall supply-demand backdrop is looking better for OPEC+, with the cartel cutting estimates for a surplus in the first quarter amid slower output growth from its rivals. Recent weeks have seen a litany of supply issues in producing countries, including in OPEC member Libya, where production is expected to fall again this week.

Oil’s market structure remains in a bullish backwardation pattern, which indicates continued tightness of supply. Speculators have also been returning, with money managers last week boosting bullish bets on Brent by the most since July.


“I don’t expect much surprise” from OPEC+, said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “The biggest challenge is starting to be to actually implement the theoretical rise in production as more and more producers start to struggle.”

  • West Texas Intermediate rose 0.5% to $76.46 a barrel at 10:02 a.m. London time
  • Brent for March settlement also gained 0.5% to trade at $79.34

The OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee, which analyzes the market on behalf of ministers, sees a surplus of 1.4 million barrels a day in the first three months of 2022, about 25% less than it estimated a month ago, according to a report seen by Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, China could maintain border restrictions for the rest of this year as it prepares to host the Beijing Winter Olympics and a series of political events, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The country is one of the few nations still committed to a “Covid Zero” approach, potentially hurting demand.

Other oil-market news:
  • OPEC chose veteran Kuwaiti oil executive Haitham al-Ghais to become the organization’s top diplomat, as the group and its allies navigate a delicate recovery from the pandemic.
  • Oil exports from Venezuela doubled in December from a year earlier, with the country raising production of revenue-generating hydrocarbons in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

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