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Why Oil Prices Rallied 30% This Year



Oil prices have gained around 30 percent in the first quarter of this year, with both WTI and Brent having posted their best quarterly performance in a decade-since the second quarter of 2009.

At the beginning of the second quarter of 2019, WTI Crude has already topped $ 60 last week and has been trading above that level in the first week of April, while Brent Crude has been flirting with the $ 70 mark for days.

At the end of last year, analysts predicting such a After the market participants panicked over gloomy forecasts about the slowing growth of oil demand growth this year, the oil price dropped by almost 40 percent in Q4 2018.

A quarter of this year signs have started to

Demand has been resilient ̵

1; it has been holding more resilient than many pundits had expected in the end of last year. Coupled with a tightening market due to OPEC and allies' cuts and U.S. sanctions crippling Venezuelan and Iranian oil sales, oil prices may have been surprised by the upside of many forecasters.

Higher oil prices have naturally led to higher gasoline prices, and forecasts suggest that U.S. drivers should brace for further increases in gas prices as the spring comes and motorists drive more. Refinery maintenance season in the U.S. American motorists should expect pumping prices to continue to increase as gasoline demand gains steam.

"Until refineries return to normal operations, which will take a few weeks, , "According to AAA. Related: The World's Cheapest Natural Gas

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said on April 1:

"There's no fooling motorists, gas prices have continued to surge. For the seventh straight week, the national average has continued to rise, unabated, due to seasonal effects. The run-up this spring has felt worse than the previous years, and so far, the national average is up nearly 50 cents per gallon from our 2019 low. "

" Unfortunately, this rut ​​we'll be stuck in yet for at least a few more weeks, "DeHaan noted.

One of the drivers of higher oil prices so far this year has been "a very resilient demand," Michele Della Vigna, head of EMEA's natural resources research at Goldman Sachs, told CNBC this week.

"Everybody came into the Goldman's expert noted. "The demand is still strong especially on emerging markets, which continues to buy a lot of crude," Goldman's expert noted.

The current Price level works for everybody on the producer's front-it helps to manage deficits in some OPEC members to sustainable levels, it's actually very profitable for the industry, and it's enough for the US Goldman Sachs does not see Brent Crude prices significantly above $ 70 or below $ 60 a barrel in the coming weeks.

But there are events in the coming weeks and a couple of the months that could affect the global oil supply and determine the trend in oil (and gasoline) prices in the summer.

Assuming that demand growth holds, as Goldman says this has been so far this year, supply will further strengthened with US sanctions on Venezuela and the upcoming review of the U.S. Waivers for Iranian oil clients. The Trump Administration is not expected to cut off all Iranian buyers in early May, considering President Trump's aversion to high gasoline prices and the current Brent price a hair's breadth away from $ 70 a barrel. Related: Russia Seeks New Arctic Oil Frontier

OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC allies will review their production cut pact in late June, but at that meeting they will have a clearer picture. of where supply might be going, because the US

OPEC leader Saudi Arabia has made it crystal clear that it will do whatever it takes to rebalance the market, with cuttings potentially going through the end of the year. 2019, while non-OPEC leader Russia is, as usual, signaling its reluctance over continuous cuts.

On the demand side, there is always weakening global economic growth and the US-China trade war lurking in the shadows to spook the oil Market again.

The first quarter of this year saw a combination of resilient demand and tightening supply, pushing oil prices higher. U.S. sanctions policies towards Iran and Venezuela, the state of global economy, emerging market growth, trade disputes, OPEC members' fiscal needs, or a sudden supply disruption, for example, will all determine – to different degrees, where oil prices will be in the coming quarters.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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