WTI $53.29 +$1.38, Brent $58.43 +50c, Diff $5.14 -88c, NG $2.53 +2c

Oil price

Onwards and upwards very gently as the oil price ticks up modestly for the fifth day in a row, May Brent expires today so traders would like it to finish well, above $59 would be helpful. Part of the resilience is down to the weak dollar but a shed-load of stats are mainly bearish if one is honest about it. Take the Chinese GDP number, I actually had consensus at 6.9% so in my eyes it was OK. I look forward to seeing what the guru Marcus Ashworth says in his blog today. If the GDP number is bearish, and it is the lowest since 2009, then the industrial production number at 5.6% is a disaster and with retail sales up only 10.2% what is the place coming to? I joke obviously but it is worth looking at the implied oil demand which in March was up 7.6% at 10.53m b/d, I have to say that I could live with that growth as regardless of GDP worries demand for oil is solid and as I said before, more cars, more air miles and 100 new airports on the way.

Elsewhere the EIA estimate that US shale will fall by 45/- b/d in May to 4.98m b/d and by 60/- b/d in the 2nd quarter which isn't much but will be the first monthly decline in four years. They also said that the USA would cease to be a net importer of oil sometime between 2020 and 2030, possibly earlier.The EIA monthly is out today and it says that Opec production in March was 31.02m b/d against a call expected to be 29.5m b/d which itself is actually up around 80/- b/d on previous forecasts. Iran joined Libya in asking for a 5% cut in Opec production and the Russians again mentioned that they might help which I don't believe, 5th June in Geneva still looks to be a waste of jet fuel…

Hunting PLC

A trading update from Hunting this morning and given that most oil service companies are finding it difficult to give guidance at the moment these updates will become more interesting. Unsurprisingly the company report market conditions to be 'volatile' and with rig counts falling and capital expenditure being reduced or reviewed it was a poor quarter with operating profit down around 60%. The company are…

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