Oil prices on track for biggest yearly gain since 2009

Oil barrels used to illustrate story [Photo Credit: Independent.co.uk]

Oil prices are on track for their biggest annual gain since 2009 after the OPEC grouping and other major producers agreed to cut crude output to reduce a global supply overhang that has depressed prices for two years.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up at 53.83 dollars a barrel on Friday, while Brent front-month March crude was at 56.85 dollars.

Brent has risen about 50 per cent this year and WTI has climbed around 43 per cent, the largest annual gains since 2009, when Brent and WTI rose 78 per cent and 71 percent respectively.

Oil price has more than halved since the summer of 2014 when it was above 100 dollars a barrel.

The fall in prices due to oversupply, in part thanks to the U.S. shale oil revolution, was accentuated later that year when Saudi Arabia rejected any OPEC deal to cut output and instead fought for market share.

But a new OPEC agreement to reduce production, struck over three months from September this year, marks a return to the 13-country group’s old objective of defending prices although doubts remain as to its effectiveness in implementation.

In a sign that producers are adhering to the six- month cut starting in January, Oman told some customers it would reduce term allocations by five per cent in March.

It did not, however, say whether the supply reduction would continue after that.

Equally as important to oil prices next year will be the development of demand globally and major forecasters differ in their predictions.

“We see a big variation in demand growth assessments for 2017, ranging from +1.22 million bpd (barrels per day) … to +1.57 million b/d,” analysts at JBC said in a note to clients.

“Overall, all forecasters agree that Asia will remain the main engine for demand growth. Yet, there is no consensus on the extent of Chinese and Indian year-on-year demand growth.”

Oil will gradually rise toward $60 per barrel by the end of 2017, a Wearern media poll showed on Thursday, with further upside capped by a strong dollar, a likely recovery in U.S. oil output, and possible non-compliance with agreed cuts.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), citing stakeholders’ opinions, reports that oil pricing had been bedevilled by manipulations and errors.

They posted that sweet Brent crude ought to be at least 70 dollars presently.

“How can there be oil glut as has been purported and Nigerian pump price went from N86 to N145 a litre.

“Our leaders should stem the sham in international oil reports,” a stakeholder said.

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