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Are bullish crude oil prices here to stay?

19 April 2017, 01:45 | Maryann Sutton

Are bullish crude oil prices here to stay?

Are bullish crude oil prices here to stay?

Hedge funds boosted bets on higher WTI crude prices a second week as futures topped $53 a barrel for the first time in a month, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

Benchmark Brent crude futures fell 48.8 cents at $55.40 as of 0315 GMT.

"The battle between the "sheiks and the shale oil producers" is far from decided. with all attempts by OPEC to achieve a lasting production deficit on the oil market being torpedoed by non-OPEC producers - first and foremost the US", analysts at Commerzbank wrote.

May output is expected to rise by 123,000 barrels per day to 5.19 million bpd, according to the US Energy Information Administration's drilling productivity report.

Despite a surge in USA shale production, the average cost for a barrel of Brent crude may rise by $10 by the end of the year, according to USA investment banking multinational Citigroup, as cited by Bloomberg.

Analysts say buying was suppressed by data showing that the USA oil rig count rose for the 13th straight week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/baker-hughes-data-show-us-oil-rig-count-up-a-13th-week-in-a-row-2017-04-13) in the week of April 13.

"We should have a month of headline-driven trading in the run-up to the May 25 meeting", Gene McGillian, manager of market research for Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a phone interview.

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The bank expects U.S. West Texas Intermediate oil to average $62 a barrel and global benchmark Brent crude to average $65 a barrel in the fourth quarter.

Oil producers are showing "very good" compliance with pledged production cuts, Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said yesterday in Riyadh.

The IEA said the global oil market is close to balance, after three years of excess supply, as oil stockpiles across The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries fell by 17.2 million barrels in March.

"U.S. shale oil producers, particularly in the Permian basin, seem well convinced that they can make money at current prices and we're in no position to argue", Timothy Evans, a Citi Futures analyst said in a recent note. For the past four weeks, according to preliminary EIA data, the US has taken in about 12 percent less Saudi crude than the same time a year ago.

Members of Opec are cutting oil production by 1.2-million bpd from January 1 for six months, the first reduction in eight years. For example, following the market crash of 2008, oil producers reacted to rapidly increasing prices that by increasing drilling activity and production.

Highlighting the fact that the demand for Iran's crude exceeds its supply, Zanganeh noted, "We have no worries on selling oil, nor do we intend to wage a price war". That was the 13th straight weekly increase, and it took the total to its highest level in almost two years.

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