The alliance will be busy after delaying preliminary talks on the oil market to allow members more time to resolve differences. The hold-up comes as a Covid-19 resurgence in some regions raises concerns over the demand outlook.
The recovery in key energy consumers including the U.S. and China has helped underpin a surge in fuel demand and driven prices to the highest level since October 2018. OPEC+ predicts the market will remain in deficit for the rest of this year if the group keeps output steady, while the prospect of an imminent flood of Iranian crude is fading as talks to revive a nuclear deal drag on.
“We expect consumption to continue outstripping supply in the near term,” said Howie Lee, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. “With more people getting vaccinated, demand worries driven by the virus should continue to diminish.”
The latest virus flare-up is causing some concerns, however. Cases have spiked in the U.K. and authorities in Australia are racing to contain outbreaks of the infectious delta variant. Other nations are renewing travel restrictions.
The drop in stockpiles reported by the API would be the largest since January if confirmed by Energy Information Administration data due Wednesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey is for a decline of 3.85 million barrels. The API said that gasoline inventories rose by 2.42 million barrels, however.
OPEC+ had been due to convene its advisory body — the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee — on Wednesday, but that session will now take place on Thursday. Delegates said it was to allow more time for talks. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak sought the delay because of “presidential commitments,” according to an official letter.
The alliance is expected to increase output for August by about 550,000 barrels a day, according to a Bloomberg survey. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecast a similar boost, but said that even a surprise hike of 1 million barrels a day wouldn’t be enough to kill the rally.
|Other market news:|