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OPEC Oil Market Highlights August 2018

Von   /   14. August 2018

Crude Oil Price Movements

In July, the OPEC Reference Basket increased marginally by 5¢ m -o-m to settle at 73.27/b.  Oil futures saw mixed  movement  over  the  month,   while  US  oil  inventories  continued  to  drain,  particularly  in Cushing, Oklahoma.  ICE  Brent  averaged  99¢ m-o-mlower  at  $74.95/b,  while  NYMEX  WTI rose  $3.26  m -o-m to $70.58/b.  Year-to-date  (y-t-d),  ICE  Brent  is  $19.53  higher at  $71.72/b  compared  to  the  same period  a  year  earlier ,  while  NYMEX  WTI  climbed   $16. 70   to  $66.20/b.  The  ICE  Brent/NYMEX  WTI  spread  narrowed by $4.25/b to $4.37/b in July . Speculative net long positions  ended the month lower, particularly for ICE Brent.

The Dubai market backwardated structure eased again, while  Brent  flipped into contango for the remainder of  the  year.  In the US, WTI  backwardation  increased  significantly  for  the  second  successive month.  Apart  from  the  USGC  costal  grades,  the global  sour  discount  to  sweet  crudes  increased  due  to a  surplus  of  sour crudes.

World Economy

The global GDP growth forecast remains at 3.8% for 2018 and 3.6% for 2019, unchanged from the previous assessment .  After  a  strong  2Q18,   US  growth  was  revised  up  by  0.1 pp  in  both  2018  and  2019,  reaching  2.9%   and  2.5% ,  respectively.  Euro-zone  growth  slowed  and  the Forecast s  were  revised  down  by  0.2

pp  to  2% for 2018 and by 0.1pp to 1.9% in 2019. Growth in Japan remains at 1.2% in 2018, and the same level is projected for 2019. India’s forecasts are unchanged at 7.3% for 2018 and 7.4% for 2019. After solid growth in 1H18,  China’s growth forecast was revised up by 0.1 pp to now stand at 6.6% for 2018 and remains at 6.2% for 2019. Growth in Brazil was revised down by 0.1 pp , reaching 1.6% in 2018, but a mild rebound to 2.1% is anticipated in 2019. Russia’s GDP growth forecast remains unchanged at 1.8% in both 2018 and 2019.

World Oil Demand

In 2018,  oil  demand  growth  is  anticipated  to  increase  by  1.64 mb/d, 20  tb/d lower  than  last  month’s  projections , mainly due to weaker -than-expected oil demand data from Latin America and the Middle East in 2Q18. Total oil demand is anticipated to reach 98.83  mb/d. For 2019,  world oil demand is forecast to grow by 1.43  mb/d, also  some 20 tb/d  lower  than last month’s assessment

Total world consumption is  anticipated to reach 100.26 mb/d. The OECD region will contribute positively to oil demand growth,  rising by 0.27 mb/d y-o-y,  yet with growth of 1.16  mb/d, non- OECD nations will account for the majority of growth expected.

World Oil Supply

Non-OPEC  oil  supply  in  2018  was  revised  up  by  73 tb/d  from  the  previous  MOMR  to  average  59.62 mb/d, representing an increase of 2.08 mb/d y-o-y. The main reason for this upward revision was an adjustment for the  Chinese supply  forecast  due  to  the  higher -than- expected  oil  output  in  1H18.

Non- OPEC  oil  supply  in 2019 is projected to reach an average of 61.75 mb/d, indicating an upward revision by 106tb/d, mostly due to a re-assessment of the Chinese supply forecast for the next year. However, y-o-y  growth  was  revised up by  only  34  tb/d ,  to average  2.13 mb/d,   owing  to  downward  revisions  in  the  US  and  Australian  supply forecasts. The US, Brazil, Canada, the UK, Kazakhstan, Australia and Malaysia are the main growth drivers; while  Mexico  and  Norway  are  expected  to  see  the  largest  declines.

The  2019  forecast  remains   subject  to many  uncertainties.  OPEC  NGL  production  in  2018  and  2019  is  expected  to  grow  by  0.12 mb/d and 0.11 mb/d to average 6.36mb/d and 6.47mb/d, respectively. In July, OPEC production increased by 41 tb/d to average 32.32 mb/d, according to secondary sources.

Product Markets and Refining Operations

In  July,  US  margins  recorded  solid  losses  as  crack  spreads  for  all  products  with  the  exception  of  fuel  oil  declined, due  to weaker  fundamentals  and  higher  feedstock  costs.  Strong  middle  distillate  stock  builds  and an all-time  record breaking jet  fuel  output  further   pressured  USG C  refining  margins.

In  Europe,  product  markets recorded moderate gains on the top and bottom of the barrel, supported by firm exports outweighing losses  seen  in  the  middle  of  the  barrel.  Meanwhile,  product  markets  in  Asia  strengthened,  supported  by  robust gasoline demand from India, lower fuel oil arrivals from Europe and lower crude prices, which led to reduced feedstock costs for refiners, while  gasoil output in China hit new highs.

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