Crude Post 20-25% Gain for First Half of 2019 As G20 Summit Commences

Friday June 28, 2019

Even though crude prices fell on Friday, the commodity posted a second straight weekly gain as the leaders of the highly-anticipated G20 countries met in Osaka, Japan, with all eyes on U.S. president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping and their attempt to end the trade war between the two countries.

Another development that could lend direction for the market is the meeting on July 1-2 in Vienna of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-members including Russia, to decide whether to extend their supply cuts.

Brent on Friday fell 93 cents to settle at $64.74 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate lost 96 cents to settle at $58.47 per barrel; despite being in the doldrums of late, Brent has posted a gain of more than 20 percent in the first half of 2019, while WTI achieved a gain of more than 25 percent.

Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, rationalized Friday's trading by observing that "You had a wave of selling come in advance of the OPEC and non-OPEC meeting on Monday, where it's fully expected that they're going to rollover production cuts.

"But ironically they're doing that because they're seeing the oil demand growth forecast get revised downward ,and that's contributing to a sense that we remain oversupplied."

What remains a mystery to some, according to Brian Sullivan, reporter for CNBC television, is that despite recent geopolitical turmoil such as tankers being attached in the Gulf of Oman and the collapse of entire oil producing capabilities such as those in Venezuela, prices haven't shot up to the triple digits as they would have in past years.

Sullivan explained that record U.S. oil production has kept the market relatively stable, along with elevated Russian production; plus, many experts think the OPEC deal will fail and cause additional flooding to what they think is an oversupplied market; finally, "oil's been held down by growing economic fears."

He concluded, "These are four reasons why the oil bulls have been put out to pasture - for now."

Still, most of the 22 oil experts surveyed by CNBC this week forecast oil prices trading in the current range or higher by the end of the summer, and only 14 percent saw geopolitics as the biggest driver of oil prices (demand issues were the factor for 41 percent, while 18 percent cited trade disputes).