Oil prices edged up on Friday but markets remained on the back foot after tumbling in the previous session when OPEC and allied producers extended output cuts but disappointed investors betting on longer or larger curbs.
Oil had climbed back above $51 a barrel after Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC member Russian Federation rallied support from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other nations to extend the deal into 2018. This came in the wake of the OPEC's November 30 decision to cut output by 1.2 million bpd for six months effective from January 1.
OPEC was under pressure from oil producers to reduce crude oil stockpiles from their current level at 3bn barrels to their long-term average of 2.7bn barrels. USA crude sank almost 4.8 percent on Thursday on disappointment that OPEC and the other producers weren't more aggressive in extending their output cuts.
Clawing back some of Thursday's losses, global benchmark Brent futures were up 28c at $51.74 a barrel at 8.37am GMT. This is why Saudi cargoes to the U.S.in recent months have totaled 1.21 million barrels a day - the highest rates since 2014, the year of the oil price crash. Prices slumped $2.46 to $48.90 on Thursday, the biggest decline since May 4.
Some market participants had priced in more aggressive output cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers.
"It is also worth noting that Saudi Arabia is in the process of listing Aramco (the national oil company), and will therefore require a stable oil price to support their US$2tn valuation of the company, and so it is in the country's interest to continue with production cuts". This is surely an effort in the right direction in order to remove the bloated inventories from the market.
Fitch's base case expectation is that the market will gradually recover, leading to Brent crude market prices in the mid-USD50 range in 2018 and at around USD60 in 2019.
This led the oil producing countries to propose production cuts starting December to firm oil prices back up to the current United States dollars 50-55 per barrel-mark. Producers in the U.S. raised output by more than 10 percent since mid-2016 to over 9.3 million bpd to take advantage of higher prices and the supply gap left by OPEC and its allies.
Analysts said that the OPEC-led production cuts would support a further rise in USA output.
The Post report said that there were questions about the authenticity of the document, and yet Comey acted on it anyway. On Friday, CNN reported that Comey acted on this document, even though he knew it could be fake.
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