Mixed Demand Outlook, Stronger Dollar Slice Oil Prices

March 13, 2021
oil prices fall

By Adedapo Adesanya

Oil ended on Friday facing southwards as a result of a stronger United States Dollar and mixed demand outlook after a recent rally.

The price of the Brent crude depreciated by 41 cents or 0.59 per cent to $69.22 per barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude also dropped 41 cents or 0.62 per cent to sell at $65.61 per barrel.

Reports showed that demand remains uneven across various regions, with Indian fuel sales falling in February amid higher pump prices. However, demand is climbing in the US and the United Kingdom.

The global Brent benchmark started this week with a push above $70 a barrel after attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, before retreating.

While the market is focusing on the recovery in demand and extension of current output cuts by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), there are concerns that higher prices might encourage a surge in US production by shale drillers, a move that would add to supply concerns amid sharp-rising flows of Iranian crude into China.

A stronger US Dollar also weakened prices as it made commodities like oil, which are priced in the currency, expensive to holders of other currencies.

It was also gathered that the availability of crude cargoes, meanwhile, remains tight due to the OPEC+ curbs.

Some oil processors in Asia will get less crude than they asked for next month from Saudi Arabia as the producer extends its unilateral output cuts.

Oil climbed after OPEC and its allies (OPEC+) made a surprise pledge to keep output steady in April, boosting oil prices to their best in more than 13 months.

OPEC on Thursday sounded a note of caution on the outlook, trimming its forecasts for the amount of crude it will need to pump over the next two quarters.

Now, all eyes will be on an International Energy Agency (IEA) report next week, which will publish forward-looking demand forecasts, while the market will also be watching for clues on the health of the U.S.-China relationship following a high-level meeting set for March 18-19 in Alaska.

US crude stockpiles rose by 13.8 million, taking gains over the past three weeks to almost 37 million following cold weather that shuttered a number of refineries in the largest producing country.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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