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Oil prices ease after hitting 10-month highs as investors take profits

September 19, 2023By Reuters

Sept 19 – Oil prices rose to 10-month highs on Tuesday before easing, as investors took profits following three sessions of gains that followed extended production cuts from Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures settled 9 cents lower at USD 94.34 a barrel. Earlier, it hit a session peak of USD 95.96 a barrel, its highest since November.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures dropped 28 cents to USD 91.20 after earlier reaching USD 93.74 a barrel, also the highest since November.

After Brent topped USD 95 a barrel on Tuesday, investment bank UBS said in a note it started taking profits. Still, strategists there expect Brent to trade in a range of USD 90-100 per barrel over the coming months, with a year-end target of USD 95 per barrel.

Feeding supply concerns, OPEC+ members Saudi Arabia and Russia this month extended combined supply cuts of 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) to the end of the year.

Russia’s government is considering imposing export duties on all types of oil products of USD 250 per metric ton – much higher than current fees – from Oct. 1 until June 2024 to tackle fuel shortages, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Further, US oil output from top shale-producing regions is on track to fall to 9.393 million bpd in October, the lowest since May 2023, the US Energy Information Administration said on Monday. That would be a third consecutive monthly fall.

Industry data on Tuesday showed US crude oil stockpiles fell last week by about 5.25 million barrels, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday. Analysts had expected a 2.7-million-barrel decline.

US government data on inventories is due on Wednesday.

There are some demand uncertainties that could weigh on the market.

On Monday, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser lowered the company’s long-term outlook for global demand to 110 million bpd by 2030 from a previous estimate of 125 million bpd.

Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman defended OPEC+ supply cuts, saying international energy markets need light regulation to limit volatility, while warning of uncertainty over Chinese demand, European growth, and central bank measures to tackle inflation.

Interest rate decisions are due this week from the central banks of the US, Britain, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway.

Wall Street’s main indexes dropped on Tuesday, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hitting their lowest in over three weeks as Treasury yields rose ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting this week.

The central bank is expected to hold benchmark interest rates at the current 5.25%-5.50% range on Wednesday, as core inflation crawls toward the Fed’s 2% target.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York, Andrew Hayley in Beijing, and Paul Carsten; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Jason Neely, David Goodman, David Gregorio, and Jan Harvey)


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