Oil Rebounds From Three-Week Low as Recovery Withstands Delta

Aramco Cuts April Oil Pricing to Mediterranean on OPEC+ Caution
Photographer: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Oil rebounded from a three-week low on expectations that the global economic recovery will withstand the latest virus onslaught, even as it takes a toll on fuel demand.

Futures climbed toward $68 a barrel in New York, recovering in concert with other commodities, after tumbling almost 4% over the past two sessions. The Delta variant has led to rising infections and curbs on movement, most notably in China, where crude refining is set to be scaled back and air travel has slumped. Still, global demand is expected to hold up and tighten the market through the end of the year.

Oil's rally has been interrupted by the virus resurgence

“This turbulence should remain temporary, not the least as western world oil demand is back at or above pre-pandemic levels and is draining global supplies,” said Norbert Ruecker, head of economics at Julius Baer Group Ltd. in Zurich.

In the short-term though the spread of the virus through Asia, where many countries are lagging behind with vaccination rates, is inflicting a blow on fuel consumption. The pandemic’s resurgence in the U.S., particularly in states where up-take of the vaccine is low, is also sowing concern.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the nation’s biggest refiner commonly known as Sinopec, is cutting run rates at some plants by 5% to 10% compared with previously planned levels this month, according to Jean Zou, an analyst at commodities researcher ICIS-China.

PRICES
  • West Texas Intermediate for September delivery rose 2% to $67.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:15 a.m. London time after dropping 2.6% on Monday.
  • Brent for October settlement gained 1.5% to $70.10 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange after falling 2.4% on Monday.
    • The prompt timespread for Brent was 49 cents a barrel in backwardation, compared with 92 cents at the end of July.

The number of seats being offered by China’s airlines dropped the most since early in the pandemic as the nation implemented fresh restrictions to contain the latest wave, based on data from aviation specialist OAG. Meanwhile in the U.S., virus cases surged to the highest weekly level since early February.

“China’s Covid Zero strategy means restrictions could continue to widen and tighten, denting oil consumption,” said Vandana Hari, the founder of consultant Vanda Insights. “Delta outbreaks are certainly cause for a revaluation of the earlier anticipated trajectory of the global demand recovery.”

About Stu Turley 2288 Articles
Stuart Turley is President and CEO of Sandstone Group, a top energy data, and finance consultancy working with companies all throughout the energy value chain. Sandstone helps both small and large-cap energy companies to develop customized applications and manage data workflows/integration throughout the entire business. With experience in implementing enterprise networks, supercomputers, and cellular tower solutions, Sandstone has become a trusted source and advisor in this space. Stuart has led the “Total Corporate Digital Integration” platform at Sandstone and works with Sandstone clients to help integrate all aspects of modern digital business. He is also the Executive Publisher of www.energynewsbeat.com, the best source for 24/7 energy news coverage and is the Co-Host of the energy news video and Podcast Energy News Beat. Stuart is on Board Member of ASN Productions, DI Communities Stuart is guided by over 30 years of business management experience, having successfully built and help sell multiple small and medium businesses while consulting for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He holds a B.A in Business Administration from Oklahoma State and an MBA from Oklahoma City University.