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Oil Market Snapshot – February 2019 Brent Fails to Close Above $67/bbl as Trump Tells OPEC: "Take It Easy"

Brent came close, but could not close above $67/bbl in February, with a sharp sell-off prompted by President Trump tweeting that OPEC should “take it easy” on 25th February. Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih responded by saying “We are already taking it easy”, indicating that production policy will remain unchanged. We see Brent averaging $67.96/bbl in 2019. Traders appear to be pricing in downside risks, however, as analysis based on current fundamentals suggests a higher price. We see global demand growth at 1.48 million b/d in 2019 (-50,000 on previous), on our expectations that weaker growth from China will dampen, but not obliterate, demand growth. We see global supply growth at 1.01 million b/d, with US LTO taking the lead again, though at lower growth rates than in 2018. A poor 4Q18 for LTO and subsequent guidance to investors suggests this growth will be led primarily by the majors. Taken together, our supply demand balance implies a balanced market in 2019 (60,000 b/d net additions to stocks)....

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