Iraq Looks To Boost Crude Oil Trading Business

Crude Oil versus OPEC Production

Brian Stutland, chief investment officer at Equity Armor Investments, said, "We're seeing some supplies tighten a little bit.and also the correlation between oil and the stock market and demand coming back into the picture has sort of driven it: oil lagged a little bit as the dollar strengthened, and I think it's trying to play catch-up".

Continued supply reductions would further support oil prices, which are up about 25 per cent this year, and incur the wrath of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has demanded OPEC ease its efforts to bolster the market.

In April a year ago, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said that it was establishing a new trading unit to "introduce and manage non-speculative trading to further maximize value from every barrel of crude oil and refined product that is produced and marketed by the company".

OPEC's bearish demand outlook was offset by its apparent resolve to extend crude output cuts, agreed to by its members and allied producers, which have helped oil prices rise more than 20 percent this year. Opec sources have said an extension of the pact is the likely scenario. This was led by a drop in supply from Venezuela - exempt from the Opec cut but under United States sanctions - and a further voluntary reduction by Saudi Arabia. The group will discuss this at a meeting in April, although top exporter Saudi Arabia has said a decision may not be made until another gathering in June.

Despite the new curbs, market indicators followed by Opec will prolong concerns about excess supply.

Overall Opec output fell by 221,000 bpd month-on-month to 30.55 million bpd.

Crude oil imports have decreased in recent years as U.S. crude oil production has increased.

Brent crude hit a four-month peak of $68.14 per barrel before falling to $67.19 by 2:23 p.m. EST (1823 GMT), down 36 cents, from Wednesday's close. Brent touched $67.76 a barrel on Wednesday, its highest since November 16.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $67.37 US a barrel, up 70 cents, or 1.1%, from their last close.

While it may be just as problematic as the notion of global oversupply that dominated analytical fears until recently, the perception of a tightening market continued to result in gains for crude prices, with US oil settling a substantial 2.4 percent higher on Wednesday. OPEC's report said oil inventories in developed economies were above the five-year average in January.



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