Strong China Demand Trumps Concern Of US Production and Boosts Crude Prices


Oil prices were stable on Friday as the weight of a strengthening us dollar was countered by China's relentless thirst for crude and the OPEC-led supply cuts that have gradually tightened the market this year.

A statement by Kuwait's oil minister that OPEC and other oil producers will study before June next year the possibility of exiting their global oil supply-cut agreement also weighed on prices, traders said.

In futures trade at the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for delivery in current month shed Rs 14, or 0.38 per cent, to Rs 3,678 per barrel, with a business volume of 1,362 lots.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, were up 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $62.27 a barrel.

The number of operating drills in the United States last week has increased by two, reaching level of 751 - the highest since September, according to Baker Hughes data.

The investment bank raised its forecast for 2018 Brent and WTI to 62 USA dollars and 57.5 dollars a barrel, respectively, as OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and its allies showed a stronger commitment than expected to extending their output curbs.

Chinese crude oil imports increased to 9.01 million bpd last month-the second highest on record, according to data provided by China's General Administration of Customs.

John Macaluso, an analyst at Tyche Capital Advisors, remarked, "We have good numbers out of China [and] a lot of the extra imports are not from Saudi Arabia: Iran, Russia and the USA are some of the countries picking up the slack".

However, some uncertainty remains over the reliability of this commitment as well as over how suddenly the group will increase output once the voluntary restraint ends. The OPEC countries, supported by large non-OPEC producers, are trying to rebalance the oil market and quote the raw material at stable and higher levels. "That said, it's still a long way until the June review meeting".