IEA expects oil prices to remain firm as supply tightens

The oil market has tightened a bit after the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (Opec) effected a production cut and US-led sanctions on Iran and Venezuela curbed oil flows into the market, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.

IEA, however, noted that the demand outlook for oil in 2019 also remain extremely uncertain.
“The huge increase in oil production we saw in the second half of 2018 has reversed following the implementation of the new Vienna Agreement and the increasing effectiveness of sanctions against Iran and Venezuela,” the IEA said in its monthly report, leading to a “dramatic increase in prices” so far this year.
The IEA highlighted that demand was a “very important” piece of the puzzle for oil market rebalancing, but uncertainty over the global economy was too intense to allow for a change to its forecasts.
“As far as 2019 is concerned, amongst the analyst community there is an extraordinarily wide divergence of view as to how strong growth will be,” the IEA said in its report.
“We maintain our forecast of 1.4 million barrels per day, but accept that there are mixed signals about the health of the global economy, and differing views about the likely level of oil prices.”
Oil prices, however, traded lower on Thursday, pulling back from five-month highs.  US crude oil futures fell 0.6 per cent to $64.20 by 4:30 AM ET (8:30 GMT), while Brent oil traded down 0.3 per cent at $71.52.