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Oil Market Snapshot – March 2019 Brent Shrugs Off Weaker Economic Indicators For Now

Brent has traded around $65/bbl throughout March, as a multi-week counter-seasonal draw in US inventories balances against weaker global economic data. Our Brent 2019 forecast remains broadly unchanged at $67.23/bbl(-$0.73/bbl on previous). Our global demand growth forecast for 2019 is 1.39 million b/d (-90,000 b/d), mainly driven by weaker economic data from China and the US. Our global supply growth estimates for 2018 and 2019 are 2.75 million b/d (+160,000 b/d) and 1.02 million b/d (+10,000 b/d), respectively. Growth is led in both years by US LTO (1.56 and 1.07 million b/d, respectively), while a fall in OPEC’s production (-750,000 b/d) offsets this to some extent in 2019. US inventories built in 2H2018 as waivers granted by the US for its sanctions on Iran instigated a price collapse at the end of the year. OPEC compliance with the Vienna Group deal reached 106% in February, as Saudi Arabia and its allies UAE and Kuwait met or exceeded their obligations, offsetting Iraq’s mere 14% compliance. Weaker demand growth and firmer US LTO growth would add further pressure for the cuts to continue, potentially into 2020...

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