During the week of December 20-24, Asia crude oil futures expect to stay under pressure as countries worldwide ponder new restrictions in response to mounting COVID-19 instances. The outcome of scheduled spot tenders for February-loading crude, and new demand from Asian refiners will remain the focus this week.
As customers fulfill their import requirements ahead of the holiday season, trade activity expects to slow in the second half of the week.
Demand for February-loading Middle East crude soared last week from purchasers in India, China, and other regional economies, owing to a narrow arbitrage window and smaller spot differentials.
During mid-morning trade on December 20, winter month spreads were tighter, with February-March set at 35 cents/b. Trading activity for February-loading Ichthys Field Condensate, Cossack, and Kutubu Blend is likely to start across the light sweet crude complex.
Market participants are looking forward to the results of Brunei Energy’s February-loading Kimanis tender, as well as ConocoPhillips’ possible trading activities. Malaysian crudes from Labuan, Miri, and Kikeh spotlight.
January loading barrels of Sudanese Nile Blend projected to trade in heavy sweet crudes, while February-loading programs for Australian heavy sweet crudes expect to emerge.
Over the weekend, several European countries, including the Netherlands, Ireland, and Denmark, imposed further limitations, while others were mulling new limits. Sajid Javid, the UK’s health minister, suggested on December 19 that the country could face more restrictions before Christmas.
On the other hand, analysts see a brighter future over the next two years. Goldman Sachs, a US investment firm, reintroduced the notion of $100/b oil in 2023 on December 17, stating that level as possible with oil demand reaching new record highs in 2022 and 2023.
The worldwide crude oil benchmarks were lower for the week ending December 17. FOR FEBRUARY, the ICE Brent futures contract fell 2.17 percent on the week to end at $73.52/b. The NYMEX light sweet crude contract for January is down 1.13 percent to $70.86/b.
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