Oil offers a technical rebound, but remains hesitant

(New York) Oil prices ended higher on Tuesday, thanks to a technical rebound which followed a drop on Monday, but the market remains trapped in a narrow margin, due to lack of visibility.

The price of a barrel of Brent from the North Sea for delivery in March gained 1.93%, ending at $77.59.

A barrel of American West Texas Intermediate (WTI), due in February, gained 2.07%, to $72.24.

“We had a drop yesterday after the announcements on Saudi tariffs for February, and today we are entitled to a rebound,” commented Matt Smith of Kpler.

The Saudi national company Aramco thus published, on Monday, its new prices for February, which include a more marked drop than expected, i.e. 2 dollars per barrel for all its markets.

“The situation remains fragile in the Middle East, and the risks of escalation remain, which puts renewed pressure on prices,” said Susannah Streeter of Hargreaves Lansdown in a note.

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that “increasing pressure on Iran (was) crucial and could prevent regional escalation in other theaters.”

The main news of the day came from the monthly report from the American Energy Information Administration (EIA), which forecasts that global demand for hydrocarbons will increase more (1.4 million barrels per day) than the production (+600,000 barrels per day) in 2024, a difference likely to support prices.

The agency is taking into account commitments from several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies in the OPEC+ agreement to further restrict their volumes this year.

The EIA, on the other hand, expects the United States to record a new production record, at 13.2 million barrels per day (bpd), before increasing the rate further in 2025, to reach 13 .4 million bpd.

For Carsten Fritsch of Commerzbank, this continued acceleration in American production “is becoming an increasingly important problem for Saudi Arabia.”

Faced with this situation, which is added to the increase in volumes of other major producers, notably Iran, and the non-compliance with quotas by certain members of OPEC+, the Saudis “have only two solutions », Estimates the analyst, in a note.

“Either reduce their production further, and lose additional market share, (…) or increase it to take shale oil producers out of the market thanks to lower prices,” he says.

But for Matt Smith, these new figures from the EIA “do not affect prices”.

The analyst believes that Tuesday’s surge simply brings prices back into the range they have been in recent weeks. WTI has been stuck in a range of 70 to 75 dollars per barrel for almost a month.

“There is a tension between geopolitics,” which pushes prices up, “and fundamentals,” which pull them down due to the slowdown in demand, explains Matt Smith.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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