OPEC update: is brent crude oil investing finally back?

By:
on Feb 14, 2024
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  • After slumping throughout December and January, crude oil prices trended upwards this week, thanks to OPEC.
  • In its oil market outlook, OPEC was bullish about 2024 oil demand, with better-than-expected January figures.
  • The oil price rose accordingly, topping out at more than $82 a barrel for the first time in a long time.

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February 13th and 14th were important days for the world’s oil markets. While important officials from around the world met in Paris for the International Energy Agency’s 2024 ministerial meeting, OPEC also released its latest oil market outlook report.  

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The February outlook published by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in particular, brought some good news at last for oil investors after a difficult end to 2023 and start to 2024. Read why oil prices tumbled in December 2023.

The OPEC numbers

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In it, oil demand for 2024 was said to remain unchanged at a stable 2.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) and that:

The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) rose by $1.04, or 1.3%, month-on-month in January to average $80.04 per barrel. Oil futures prices increased, with the ICE Brent front-month contract rising by $1.83, or 2.4%, month-on-month to $79.15 per barrel… The market structure of oil futures prices strengthened, with the front of forward curves for all major benchmarks flipping into backwardation. Selling pressure in oil futures markets eased, and money managers rebuilt part of their bullish positions in ICE Brent.”

A February improvement

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This is a sizable improvement from January’s monthly report, which reported that the OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) value fell by 7%, equating to $5.92, month-on-month, and that “The market structure continued to weaken in all markets as hedge funds and other money managers remained bearish, substantially reducing their long positions, which contributed to volatility in prices.”

The brent crude oil price today

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Oil prices seem to respond positively, rising higher yesterday and today after the OPEC monthly report was published.

Brent crude futures, for example, rose to 77.86 per barrel last night on February 13th, then climbed another 6 cents to as high as $82.83 a barrel this morning, before correcting downward slightly.

This is nevertheless significantly higher than the $78.15 per barrel price seen a month ago, on January 15th.

However, with the Energy Regulatory Authority (EPRA) is expected to review international fuel prices tomorrow on February 15th, which may well see oil prices sliding downward once again.

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