- Saudi Arabia plans to continue to produce at the current level until the end of the year
- China imported significantly less crude oil in August compared to the almost record-high July
Brent fell by 4% yesterday but has risen to a good $48 per barrel again this morning. WTI initially suffered similar losses today because yesterday was a public holiday in the US, so no trading took place on the NYMEX. The news on the oil market has been negative for the most part over the past 24 hours: according to well-informed industry sources, Saudi Arabia plans to maintain its current production level of 10.2-10.3 million barrels per day until the end of the year. The world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia cites strong global demand as its justification. In other words, it is continuing to pursue its strategy of defending market shares, and is thus preventing any reduction of the oversupply on the global oil market. News that the supply of North Sea oil – according to loading data and Reuters – is set to climb in October to its highest level in nearly two years is likewise weighing on prices. China imported considerably less crude oil in August. The 6.3 million barrels per day reported by the customs authorities correspond to a 13% month-on-month decline. That said, crude oil imports achieved close to a record high in July, which goes some way to explaining the decrease in August. Oil imports in the first eight months of the year were still almost 10% higher than in the same period last year. The ICE data on market positioning published yesterday are puzzling: although the Brent price soared by 25% in the last three days of August, speculative net long positions remained largely unchanged at 145,000 contracts in the week to 1 September. Both long and short positions were reduced slightly.