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Oil steady near $43 before OPEC+ meets to assess market

Crude oil prices could soar with no new upstream investment
Crude oil prices could soar with no new upstream investment

Oil was steady near $43 a barrel in London before an OPEC+ meeting to assess the state of the market as demand comes under pressure once again from a resurgent coronavirus.

The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which typically reviews compliance to the group’s pledged output cuts, will meet online Monday.

While no supply decisions are expected until the conclusion of a gathering on Dec. 1, leading members Saudi Arabia and Russia are stepping up diplomacy as the market faces more crude from Libya and OPEC predicts less demand for its oil.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, set a Tuesday deadline for more progress with the White House on a fiscal stimulus deal before the Nov. 3 election, raising optimism a relief package may finally be completed.

Oil is holding around current levels after dropping earlier this month with rising infections raising concerns about a sustained recovery in consumption.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo last week described demand as anaemic, while the International Energy Agency said the outlook for the market remains fragile due to the pandemic.

It’s looking increasingly likely that OPEC+ will have to scrap the idea of easing cuts from next year given the resurgence in Covid-19 cases and stalling demand, said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING Group.

US stimulus talks continue to go back and forth but it’s looking a bit more positive in terms of a potential deal, he added.

Prices

West Texas Intermediate for November delivery fell 0.3% to $40.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 12:43 p.m. Singapore time after dropping 0.2% on Friday

Brent for December settlement slid 0.2% to $42.83 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange after losing 0.5% in the previous session

Crude futures fell 0.3% to 270.7 yuan a barrel on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange Monday after slipping 0.6% Friday

Brent’s prompt timespread was 34 cents a barrel in contango, compared with 48 cents a week earlier. The narrowing spread indicates that concerns about over-supply have eased.

President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman have spoken twice by phone in a week, the first time the leaders have done that since the depths of the oil crisis in April, when they were hashing out a deal to cut supply and bring a price war to an end.

Larger ministerial meetings that will decide the direction on output cuts are scheduled for Nov. 20-Dec. 1.

Other oil-market news:

Libya’s western port of Zawiya, which handles crude from Sharara, the nation’s biggest field, is set to load three crude cargoes this month, according to an initial loading plan.

Drilling rigs targeting crude oil in the U.S. rose by 12 to 205 last week, according to Baker Hughes, indicating American output is slowly returning after the virus-driven crash.

Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. will re-evaluate the scope of a planned crude-to-chemicals project in the kingdom as they seek to reduce spending amid a slump in prices.

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