Published: Tue, April 02, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

BREAKING!!! More money for Nigeria as oil price hits 2019 high

BREAKING!!! More money for Nigeria as oil price hits 2019 high

The global benchmark was 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, higher at $69.28 a barrel by 1:40 p.m. EDT (1740 GMT).

A view of Equinor's oil platform in Johan Sverdrup oilfield in the North Sea, Norway August 22, 2018.

Brent for June settlement increased 37 cents to US$69.38 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. WTI gained 32 percent in the first quarter.

"It seems that the Trump administration may be more serious about imposing sanctions on Iranian oil this time around", said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in NY.

"The big headwind was the string of weak economic data and that has been relieved today, so the bullish narrative is not being held back".

Investors have anxious for months that weak global economic data could slow demand for crude, but healthier data this week from the United States and China bolstered prices.

China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly returned to growth for the first time in four months in March.

Healthy data on the world's biggest economies, the United States and China, also bolstered prices.

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The United States is considering more sanctions against Iran, whose oil exports have been halved by existing measures, an official said.

Supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries hit a four-year low in March, a Reuters survey found, because top exporter Saudi Arabia cut more than it had agreed to and due to the involuntary declines. "That is taking a lot of oil away from the market".

"Production cuts from the OPEC+ group of producers have been the main reason for the dramatic recovery since the 38% price slump seen during the final quarter of past year", said Ole Hansen, Head of Commodity Strategy at Saxo Bank.

Hedge funds and other money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions to 243,209 in the week to March 26, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said. That was the highest level since late October.

OPEC crude production fell for a fourth month in March as Saudi Arabia forged ahead with cutbacks and as power blackouts in Venezuela further squeezed supplies, a Bloomberg survey showed on Monday.

US energy companies last week reduced the number of oil rigs operating to the lowest level in almost a year, cutting the most rigs during one quarter in three years, energy services firm Baker Hughes said.

The early strength is being supported by reports that the Trump administration is considering more sanctions on Iran and that an important Venezuelan export terminal has halted operations.

A deal between OPEC and allies such as Russian Federation to cut output by around 1.2 million barrels per day, which officially started in January, has also supported prices.

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