OIL FUTURES: Crude hits 10-week high as economic restarts prompt demand optimism
26th May 2020 21:39 GMT

Crude futures settled higher amid signs that the continued reopening of economies in the US and Europe could bring balance to oversupplied oil markets in coming weeks.

NYMEX July WTI settled $1.10 higher at $24.35/b and ICE July Brent climbed 64 cents on the day to finish at $36.17/b. Front-month WTI and Brent was last higher on March 10.

Oil demand outlooks continue to improve as more state and local governments ease restrictions on non-essential travel and trade aimed at slowing the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"Crude prices continue to benefit from a relative smooth reopening of the global economy and as the oil market appears on target to reach balance next month," OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said.

Restrictions on non-essential travel and trade have been eased or lifted in all 50 US states as of late last week, though major metro areas, including Los Angeles and New York City, remain on lockdown.

Japan on Tuesday formally ended its national state of emergency, according to media reports, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that non-essential shops in England could reopen on June 15.

Refineries in China, generally considered as a model for post-lockdown economic recovery, have increased throughput and some have suspended product exports as domestic demand rises.

NYMEX June ULSD settled up 88 points at 99.08 cents/gal and June RBOB was up 1.07 cents at $1.0489/gal.

NYMEX WTI has surge 170% from month ago levels, and is approaching levels where some US producers may see value in starting shut-in production, potentially capping further upside price movement.

If crude stabilizes in the $30s/b, producers should be able to not only bring back selected wells they deem economic but even drill and complete new ones for future production, analysts said.

"I think starting in July we could see a lot of the shut-ins [wells] start to come back," said Bernadette Johnson, vice president of market intelligence for data provider Enverus. "The order in which this works is that demand [for oil] has to come back, which allows refiners to buy more crude, start ramping refinery runs and sell more gasoline and diesel. Then shut-ins come back on line."

But according to Commerzbank's head of commodity research, Eugen Weinberg, it is questionable whether the latest price rise will already help the US shale oil sector in any decisive manner in the short term.

"Its financing problems simply appear too great: the research company Rystad Energy estimates that leading companies would probably need to write off just shy of $40 billion at present. Rystad believes that up to 250 firms in the sector could therefore be driven into insolvency by the end of 2021 if oil prices do not recover any further," he said in a daily note. "Consequently, the response of shale oil companies to the latest upswing in prices is likely to be only muted, for exploration, drilling and commissioning of oil wells require start-up funding," he added.

Bunkerworld .,
26th May 2020 21:39 GMT