Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Oil steadies decline as benchmarks finish close to two-week lows

Prices have declined 16 per cent following the attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which temporarily boosted oil prices

Brent is expected to average at $55 per barrel next year with WTI at $50 per barrel by mid-2020, according to Swiss bank UBS. Bloomberg
Brent is expected to average at $55 per barrel next year with WTI at $50 per barrel by mid-2020, according to Swiss bank UBS. Bloomberg

Oil prices steadied on Friday, trading in the positive after a week of declines, where Brent fell by more than $3 as gloomy economic data weighed on the markets.

Brent, the benchmark for light, sweet crude was trading at $58.20 per barrel at 4.06pm UAE time, while West Texas Intermediate was also in the green trading at $52.53 per barrel.

Prices came close to a two-month low, in spite of the surprise shock to the global oil markets following the attacks on Saudi energy infrastructure, which wiped out 5.7 million barrels per day or the equivalent of 5 per cent of global supply. Prices, which soared to as high as 20 per cent intra-day following the attacks, have since declined 16 per cent.

"Total return indexes were up 12.5 per cent to 16 per cent from end-August to mid-September, but the energy sector has since given up nearly all these gains as crude and oil product prices have fallen back to pre-attack levels," Swiss bank UBS said in a note.

The slump has largely been due to the markets going back to the pressures of the global economy, trade tensions as well as concerns over faltering oil demand growth while ignoring geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

The Zurich-based bank maintained a constructive outlook for the last quarter of the year on the expectation of continued inventory withdrawal, but was less optimistic for 2020 "given weak oil demand growth and strong non-OPEC supply growth," it noted.

Brent is expected to average at $55 per barrel next year with WTI at $50 per barrel by mid-2020.

Nigerian oil minister Timipre Sylva meanwhile told Bloomberg on Friday that the country, one of main violators of an Opec, non-Opec deal to restrict global output, was willing to back on its production to stabilise prices.

"Everybody agrees in Opec that we need to stabilise the market," he said. "We cannot allow prices just to plummet.”

Updated: October 4, 2019 04:53 PM

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