Oil prices hit new 2019 high

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March 18, 2019 2:44pm NYSE:USO

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From Reuters:

  • Saudi Arabia says OPEC may need to extend oil supply cuts.
  • OPEC and its allies agree to cancel an April meeting, leaving supply caps in place through June.
  • Signs of a reduction in crude inventory levels at the U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma also boost futures.

Oil prices edged up on Monday, supported by the prospect of prolonged OPEC-led oil supply curbs and signs of inventory declines at the delivery point for U.S. crude futures.

OPEC and its allies met in Azerbaijan to monitor their crude supply reduction pact, where they said they would exceed commitments in the coming months.

The group agreed to cancel their April meeting, meaning the next meeting of the producer group known as OPEC+ will not be until June.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia signaled the producers may need to extend the 1.2 million barrels per day of supply curbs past June into the second half of 2019.

“As long as the levels of inventories are rising and we are far from normal levels, we will stay the course, guiding the market towards balance,” al-Falih said.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 41 cents to $67.57 a barrel around 2:25 p.m. ET (1825 GMT). It reached a 2019 high of $68.14 last week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 59 cents, or 1 percent, at $59.11, after hitting a four-month high at $59.23 earlier in the session.

“The chatter out of the OPEC meeting was sufficiently supportive to get us going,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital.

Brent has gained about 25 percent since the start of the year due to supply cuts since Jan. 1 led by OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, as well as U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

“The strategy of OPEC+ already appears to be bearing fruit,” said analysts at Commerzbank in a report.

Signs of a reduction in crude inventory levels at the U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma also boosted futures, market participants said.

Crude stockpiles at Cushing, the delivery point for WTI, fell 1.08 million barrels in the week on Friday, traders said, citing data from market intelligence firm Genscape.

Surging oil output in the United States has helped to offset the OPEC-led curbs.

Concerns about a global economic slowdown also weighed on oil prices after data showed Japan’s exports fell for a third month in February.

Analysts at Bernstein Energy said that while they expect oil demand to rise by 1.3 million bpd in 2019, a global slowdown could limit growth to below 1 million bpd.

— CNBC’s Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.

The United States Oil Fund LP (USO) was trading at $12.32 per share on Monday afternoon, up $0.12 (+0.98%). Year-to-date, USO has gained 2.58%, versus a 6.11% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

USO currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #1 of 108 ETFs in the Commodity ETFs category.

This article is brought to you courtesy of CNBC.

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