Will OPEC Cut A Deal?

8 Jun 2018; 

Some OPEC meetings are more important than others and the one coming up on June 22 is shaping up to be one of the more significant gatherings of the group of oil exporting countries as they will discuss whether to maintain their production cuts or increase production.  Since the current production restrictions went into effect in January 2017, oil prices have increased from $55 to $80 per barrel for Brent.  Commercial inventories in the United States have come down 100 million barrels from a peak of 534 million in April 2017 to around 436 million barrels in the first week of June 2018.  While these two elements seem to indicate that the OPEC cuts have achieved their objective, it remains highly uncertain what OPEC (and non-OPEC participants, like Russia) will ultimately decide to do.  The tanker market is holding its collective breath.  A meaningful increase in long-haul flows from some of the key OPEC exporters would go a long way in turning the (crude) tanker market around, especially since it will impact the physical market as well as provide a boost to the all-important market psychology.

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