Oil falls on rising output, escalating China-US trade spat

Brent Crude Oil

"Initially it was a matter of redistributing quotas in the OPEC deal, since Venezuela is producing less oil because of the for socio-economic situation and Iran may reduce its production volumes again under new USA sanctions - so the overall quota may well be preserved", Igor Yushkov expects. Last week, US President Donald Trump, once again, reiterated that oil prices were too high.

"The tariff war between the U.S. and China is showing signs of escalating", said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy oil consultancy Trifecta. EIA expects oil demand to grow by 1.4 million barrels/day and non-OPEC supply will grow by 2 million barrels/day.

But Goldman Sachs analysts said in a Monday note that despite an expected increase in OPEC output, weaker emerging market demand and a burgeoning trade war between the USA and China, the oil market remains in deficit. "It's going to be the most interesting meeting for a while".

The need to increase production emerged as Venezuela's production is in free fall and Iranian production is threatened by the re-imposition of USA sanctions. So as Iran cuts back by 500,000 barrels a day, something like that, Saudi is talking about filling that gap there.

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Rob Thummel, managing director at asset management firm Tortoise said he "would recommend a small increase in production".

Non-OPEC members including Russia, Oman and Mexico also agreed to cut 558,000 bpd off their production to stabilise the market.

In the run-up to meetings of OPEC and its allies in Vienna this week, several nations have floated plans for production increases, but no consensus has emerged for what's likely to be a fractious meeting. "If the two want to act alone, that's a breach of the cooperation agreement", the official said.

Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia have agreed to extend their oil partnership indefinitely, with the agreement stipulating that they could move to regulate oil production at any moment, TASS reports, quoting Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

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A technical panel-a kind of economic body within OPEC-met on Monday to take stock of the oil market situation and to prepare a report for the ministers of the OPEC countries at their meeting later this week. The two countries produce around a fifth of world output.

The increase of 300,000 to 600,000 barrels a day - above the current OPEC+ production of about 32 million barrels a day - is a less theoretical number.

"Russia has been aggressively affirming itself by adding oil to market ahead of the upcoming meeting and is pushing for a significant output hike, Saudi Arabia is suggesting for a modest increase and others are in favour of the status quo", said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA.

Analysts at Societe Generale SA predicted a hard OPEC meeting, but ultimately a deal along the lines of what's now being discussed. "A meaningful increase in long-haul flows from some of the key OPEC exporters would go a long way in turning the crude tanker market around, especially since it will impact the physical market as well as provide a boost to the all-important market psychology".

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