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Crude Oil News Today: Will OPEC+ Extend Production Cuts Beyond Q2?

By:
James Hyerczyk
Updated: Mar 2, 2024, 12:30 UTC

Key Points:

  • OPEC+ may extend production cuts, affecting supply.
  • U.S. oil rig count increases, signaling output growth.
  • Central bank policies, economic data influence oil demand volatility.
Crude Oil News Today

In this article:

Oil Prices on the Rise

In the recent week, crude oil markets have seen a notable uptick in prices. This movement is primarily driven by the impending decision from OPEC+ regarding their supply agreements for the second quarter of 2024, coupled with fresh economic data from the U.S., Europe, and China. The market’s focus is intensely set on OPEC+’s strategy, particularly their voluntary production cuts, which if continued, could significantly influence the supply environment.

Last week, Light Crude Oil futures settled at $79.97, up $3.48 or +4.55%.

Weekly Light Crude Oil Futures

Supply Factors

The core of the supply discussion centers on OPEC+’s potential extension of production cuts. February data shows OPEC pumped 26.42 million barrels per day (bpd), a slight increase of 90,000 bpd from January. This uptick, though modest, injects an element of uncertainty into the supply outlook. Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s anticipated decision to maintain its crude prices for Asian customers in April further stabilizes the supply scenario.

In the U.S., the oil rig count has risen, reaching 506 rigs – the highest since September, as reported by energy services firm Baker Hughes. This increase signifies a possible expansion in U.S. crude output, which could balance the constrained supply from OPEC+.

Demand Factors

On the demand side, there’s a blend of weakening and stabilizing factors. China’s manufacturing sector contracted for the fifth consecutive month, signaling a potential reduction in one of the world’s largest oil markets. Conversely, the Euro zone’s dip in inflation and the U.S. personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index aligning with expectations may soften the impact on oil demand. Notably, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) reported that money managers have raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to February 27, reflecting a bullish sentiment among investors.

Economic Indicators and Central Bank Policies

Economic indicators and central bank policies are key drivers in the demand equation. The U.S. Federal Reserve, with its inflation measures in check, might consider a rate cut in June. This decision hinges on balancing inflation control with economic growth, which indirectly influences oil demand. In Europe, the fall in inflation could prompt the European Central Bank (ECB) to ease interest rates, impacting economic activity and, subsequently, oil consumption.

Weekly Forecast

Considering these factors, the short-term outlook for the oil market leans towards  bullish. The potential extension of OPEC+ cuts, U.S. production trends, and ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea region are likely to support higher prices. However, demand uncertainties, influenced by global economic indicators and potential oversupply from the U.S., could inject volatility into the market.

In conclusion, the oil market is at a critical juncture, with the upcoming OPEC+ decision and evolving economic data poised to play decisive roles in shaping the market’s near-term direction.

About the Author

James is a Florida-based technical analyst, market researcher, educator and trader with 35+ years of experience. He is an expert in the area of patterns, price and time analysis as it applies to futures, Forex, and stocks.

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