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Crude oil futures fall on bearish API data, lack of OPEC+ guidance

November 20/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures moved lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Nov. 18, after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed a build in US crude inventories, and after the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) failed to make definite statements on the status of OPEC+ production cuts, reported S&P Global.

At 10:32 am Singapore time (0232 GMT), ICE Brent January crude futures were down 15 cents/b (0.34%) from the Nov. 17 settle at USD43.60/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract was down 24 cents/b (0.58%) at USD41.19/b.

The lower crude prices were seen after API data showed Nov. 17 that crude inventories rose by 4.174 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 13.

Fundamentals in the downstream gasoline markets were also unimproved, with API data showing a 256,000-barrel build in gasoline inventories in the week ended Nov. 13. The one positive from the API report was a 5.024 million-barrel draw in distillate inventories.

At 10:32 am Singapore time, the NYMEX December RBOB contract was trading 0.38 cent/gal (0.33%) lower than the Nov. 17 settle at USD1.1494/gal and the NYMEX December ULSD contract was down by 0.12 cent/gal (0.10%) at USD1.2379/gal.

Pan Jingyi, senior market strategist at IG, acknowledged that the bearish API data had dampened sentiment this morning, and added, "The market is taking a breather after a vaccine-driven rally, and reassessing the situation on the pandemic front, as infection numbers have been rising the past couple of days."

Meanwhile, a Nov. 17 JMMC meeting did not inspire any confidence in the market, as it failed to offer any insight as to whether the OPEC+ alliance will extend its current production cuts into next year.

Based on prior hints from key figures within OPEC+, the market believes that the alliance will extend its output cuts of 7.7 million b/d by at least three months, instead of easing them to 5.8 million b/d as planned from January 2021 onward.

The market was expecting more definitive statements on the status of the production cuts from the meeting, but delegates told S&P Global Platts that OPEC+ will announce its decision when it convenes online from Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

"While OPEC+ can extend the current cuts at its next full meeting on Nov. 30, it may well be viewed as a disappointment that we did not hear something more explicit today, especially in the context of a market that, on the margin, is still hopeful that additional cuts in 2021 will be at least put on the table," Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said in a Nov. 18 note.

Even though there was no production guidance, the JMMC reaffirmed the OPEC+ alliance's resolve to balance demand with supply in the oil market.

Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said in his opening remarks: "We must maintain high compliance while retaining the flexibility and nimbleness to adjust our commitment in changing market conditions ... we must be prepared to act according to the requirements of the market."

As MRC informed previously, global oil demand may have already peaked, according to BP's latest long-term energy outlook, as the COVID-19 pandemic kicks the world economy onto a weaker growth trajectory and accelerates the shift to cleaner fuels.

Earlier this year, BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could cut global oil demand growth by 40 per cent in 2020, putting pressure on Opec producers and Russia to curb supplies to keep prices in check.

And in September 2019, six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

ccording to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,594,510 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, up by 1% year on year. Only high denstiy polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 880,130 tonnes in the nine months of 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports, exluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.


mrcplast.com
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, PP random copolymer, propylene, HDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, BASF, Borealis, BP Plc, LyondellBasell, Sabic, Total Petrochemicals, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA.
Category:General News
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