Global oil prices extended gains Monday, lifting U.S. crude some 33% from its December lows, as investors reacted to reports of a potential trade deal between Washington and Beijing and that ongoing OPEC production cuts that could last well into the second half of the year.
Russia's Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said Monday that his country's production cuts will be deeper than in previous months, adding to supply pressures from OPEC's move last year to extend a deal that removes around 1.2 million barrels from the market each day. Reuters reported Monday that the so-called OPEC+ pact may be extended when members meet in Vienna in June. Russia has co-operated with the OPEC cartel in order to address what both have called a glut in global supply, which has been helped by record U.S. output and slowing end demand.
Novak also told reporters in Moscow that there will be a "higher compliance rate" with OPEC production cuts in March following a survey from Reuters that showed cartel members kept February output at the lowest level in four years.
Reports of a imminent U.S.-China trade deal, as well as data from Houston-based oil services provider Baker Hughes which showed American drilling installations at the lowest level in nine-months, added further upward pressure Monday, lifting crude futures and U.S.-listed oil stocks.
Brent crude contracts for May delivery, the global benchmark, were marked $1.04 higher from their Friday close and changing hands at $66.11 per barrel by mid-day trading in New York while WTI contracts for the same month were seen $1.07 higher at $56.87 per barrel, taking their gain from the December 24 low to around 33%.
Speculators are also adding to bullish bets on crude, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data, with net long positions at the highest levels in four months.
Crude's ongoing rebound has also has also lifted U.S. oil majors notably higher, with Chevron Corp. (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report some 21.4% to the upside at $122.62 each since hitting a Christmas Eve trough of $100.99 per share and rival Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report 22.45% higher at $80.22 each.
Questions over the near-term strength of the global economy, however, and the weakening factor output data seen over the months of January and February, could put the market's current bullish tenor at risk.
Saxo Bank's head of commodity strategy, Ole Hansen, also notes the markets's reaction to last week's Tweet from President Donald Trump, which urged OPEC members to "take it easy" on production cuts and price increases in a fragile world economy, and cautions that crude might be overbought in the near-terms as a result.
"Despite a speedy recovery following the Trump tweet an almost non-stop accumulation of longs since early December has left Brent crude oil struggling for fresh input to take it higher," Hansen said. "For now it has settled into a $64/b to $68/b range with the short-term risk skewed to the downside in our opinion."