Oil prices were steady on Monday as bullish sentiment about tightening supplies from OPEC+ cuts and a resumption in US buying for reserves competed with concerns about fuel demand in the top global oil consumers, the United States (US) and China.
Brent crude futures fell 2 cents to $73.91 a barrel by 08:00 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $69.34 a barrel, up 4 cents.
Last week, both benchmarks fell for a fourth consecutive week, the longest streak of weekly declines since September 2022, over concerns the United States could enter a recession amid risk of a historic default at the beginning of June.
“With the uneven re-opening in China and concerns that the US is facing a growth slowdown at a time when the X-date for the debt ceiling is rapidly approaching, topped off by a rally in the US dollar, market sentiment towards crude oil will remain tepid at best,” IG analyst Tony Sycamore said.
Still, global crude supplies could tighten in the second half as the OPEC+ grouping, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, is making additional output cuts that are reducing sour crude availability.
The group announced in April that some members would cut output further by around 1.16 million barrels per day, bringing the total volume of cuts to 3.66 million bpd, according to Reuters calculations.
However, Iraq does not expect OPEC+ to make further cuts to oil output at its next meeting on June 4, said its oil minister, Hayan Abdel-Ghani.
The US could start repurchasing oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) after completing a congressionally mandated sale in June, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told lawmakers on Thursday.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations could announce new measures at their May 19-21 meetings that target sanctions evasion involving third countries, said officials with direct knowledge of the discussions.
The tightening of sanctions will also seek to undermine Russia’s future energy production and curb trade that supports the Russian military, the people said.