Brent Oil Stays Above $85 Amid Market Shifts

Quick Look

  • Brent Crude Stabilizes Above $85: Despite a stronger dollar’s influence, Brent crude futures remain resilient.
  • Global Demand Exceeds Expectations: Signs of a tightening crude market foster optimism.
  • External Factors Limit Gains: The dollar’s strength and geopolitical tensions present challenges.

In the constantly shifting landscape of the global oil market, Brent crude has managed to hold its ground above the $85 mark in London. This stability arises as the strengthening dollar challenges commodities, balancing out the positive indicators of a constricting global crude supply. The week ends with Brent crude futures steadying after a series of ups and downs that ultimately led to an almost unchanged closing figure.

The atmosphere at the annual CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston conveyed a bullish outlook as global oil demand seems to outpace previous expectations. However, this sentiment encounters hurdles on multiple fronts. Indian refiners are avoiding Russian crude transported by PJSC Sovcomflot tankers, a fallout from US sanctions, adding a twist to the supply chain that previously aided in price stabilisation.

Dollar Dynamics and Crude Correlations

The financial sector is experiencing significant shifts, with the dollar index aiming for its highest weekly increase since January. This follows an unexpected rate cut by the Swiss National Bank and the Federal Reserve’s hints at possible rate reductions. Despite these signs of a more dovish policy stance, the dollar’s strength—particularly against China’s yuan—acts as a formidable barrier to commodities, including crude oil.

US Inventories Drop, Oil Surges

The first quarter’s journey for crude oil has charted a trajectory of growth. This is due to decreasing US inventories, strategic cuts in production by the OPEC+ alliance, and increased geopolitical tensions impacting Russian refineries. Importantly, the US gasoline market has demonstrated robustness. Profit margins from refining crude into gasoline have reached their highest levels since August.

However, the road ahead faces significant obstacles. The oil market’s advancements are restrained by a rise in supply from producers outside the OPEC+ group. Additionally, an uncertain economic outlook in China, the foremost crude importer globally, dampens progress. Furthermore, geopolitical developments, particularly in the Middle East, add layers of complexity. Actions by Israel in Rafah and the continuing conflicts with Hamas in Gaza, as well as the Houthis’ operations in the Red Sea, suggest possible escalations. These could jeopardise regional stability and, by extension, influence the global oil market.

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