Oil on track for biggest monthly gains in over a year


  • Oil prices edged up, eye strong monthly gains
  • Riyadh expected to extend voluntary cuts to Sep – analysts
  • Oil demand rose to a record 102.8 million bpd in July – analyst

LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) – Oil prices were set to post their biggest monthly gains in more than a year on Monday, on expectations that Saudi Arabia will extend voluntary output cuts into September and tighten global supply.

Brent crude futures crept 34 cents higher to $85.33 a barrel by 0957 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 54 cents to $81.12 a barrel.

The September Brent contract will expire on Monday. The more active October contract edged up 47 cents to $84.88 a barrel.

Brent and WTI settled on Friday at their highest levels since April, gaining for a fifth straight week, as tightening oil supplies globally and expectations of an end to U.S. interest rate hikes supported prices.

Both are on track to close July with their biggest monthly gains since January 2022.

Reuters Graphics

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is expected to extend a voluntary oil output cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) for another month to include September.

“There is bull-twitch in the market’s antenna, something which Saudi will most definitely look to aggravate with a roll in their production cut,” said PVM analyst John Evans.

“Oil will again enjoy a beginning of the month firmness that it has done for the last three cycles before global economic news comes to keep it in check,” he added.

Riyadh’s existing cuts have already constrained supplies, with oil inventories beginning to fall in some regions – the United States in particular – as demand outpaces supply.

“Oil prices are up 18% since mid-June as record high demand and Saudi supply cuts have brought back deficits, and as the market has abandoned its growth pessimism,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a July 30 note.

The bank estimated that global oil demand rose to a record 102.8 million bpd in July and it revised up 2023 demand by about 550,000 bpd on stronger economic growth estimates in India and the U.S., offsetting a downgrade for China’s consumption.

Adding to the bullish sentiment was data on Monday that showed that the euro zone returned to growth in the second quarter of 2023, after narrowly avoiding a technical recession around the turn of the year.

Reporting by Natalie Grover in London; Additional reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore and Mohi Narayan in New Delhi; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Christina Fincher and Louise Heavens

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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