Oil broadly steady amid OPEC+ supply cut uncertainty, demand worries

Oil prices were broadly stable on Friday, as the market weighed in on conflicting messages on supply from Russia and Saudi Arabia ahead of the next OPEC+ policy meeting, a stronger U.S. dollar and worries of weaker-than-expected demand growth.

Brent crude was up 6 cents to $76.32 a barrel at 0627 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate rose 18 cents to $72.01 a barrel.

Benchmarks settled more than $2 per barrel lower on Thursday, after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak played down the prospect of further OPEC+ production cuts at its meeting in Vienna on June 4.

Both prices were still poised to post a second week of gain of slightly less than 1%.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that energy prices were approaching “economically justified” levels, also indicating there could be no immediate change to the group’s production policy.

Their remarks contrasted with comments this week from Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the de-facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), warning short sellers to “watch out”.

Some investors interpreted that as a signal OPEC+ could consider further output cuts.

The higher dollar, which has strengthened for a fifth session against a basket of major peers, with U.S. data pointing to a resilient economy even after an aggressive interest rate hike cycle by the Federal Reserve, kept a lid on upward price movement.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for those holding other currencies, denting demand.

Worries of weaker-than-expected demand growth globally weighed on investor outlook.

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